Champagne Philipponnat is a historic Champagne House renowned for its legendary Champagne Philipponnat Clos des Goisses wine plot. This walled-in 13.6 acre hectare plot produces the Philipponnat Royale Reserve Brut champagne and Rosé vintage champagnes.
The History of Philipponnat Champagne
Today, Philipponnat is one of the last Champagne Houses in French wine country to still be run by its founding family. The Philipponnat family have been actively producing wine in Champagne for almost 500 years. Apvril de Philipponnat was recorded as having owned vines here in 1522, during which time the Philipponnat family worked as winegrowers and merchants. In fact, the ancestors of the family even supplied wines to the royal court of Louis XIV. The historic underground cellars of the House, dating back to the 18th century, once belonged to the Chateau de Mareuil.
The House as we know it today was founded by Pierre Philipponnat in 1910. In 1999, Charles Philipponnat took over as CEO of the company and brought the House back to its Golden Age. He put special emphasis on Pinot Noir from the house’s historic vineyard parcels in the Montagne de Reims, producing wines that exuded the character of this flagship red grape.
Charles also began using only first-press Chardonnay in the blend and increased the amount of neutral oak in the aging program. Under Charles’s tenure, Philipponnat champagnes became fresher and more intense. He expanded the Philipponnat range to include non-vintage brut champagnes and several exceptional “champagnes de terroir.” Today the Philipponnat portfolio is known by Champagne lovers for its exceptional champagnes producing with a Burgundian focus on terroir.
The Terroir of Philipponnat and Clos de Goisses
Known as a beacon of the “terroir” concept in Champagne, Philipponnat’s Clos de Goisses vineyard was the very first in the region to produce a single-vineyard bottling. Its debut vintage was 1935 and was the first of its kind until Krug Champagne’s Clos du Mesnil plot produced a single-vineyard wine in 1979. Author Peter Liem has even referred to Clos des Goisses as “arguably the greatest vineyard site in all of Champagne.” But what makes the Clos de Goisses plot so special?
Clos de Goisses is a plot measuring 5.5 hectares (13.6 acres) situated on an unbroken south-facing 30-45° slope overlooking the Marne River. In fact, the name Clos de Goisses refers to the steep slope of the plot. Here, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines grow in pure chalk soils on what is known as Champagne’s warmest terroir. The vines receive plenty of sunshine and virtually no shade between sunrise to sunset, allowing the grapes to ripen beautifully in time for the harvest.
In total, Philipponnat cultivates roughly 50 acres of Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards in the areas of Ay, Mareuil-sur-Ay and Avenay in the region of Champagne in France, Europe. These plots, which have been dedicated to the grape vine for centuries are worked using natural methods, with manual hoeing and ploughing by horse. The Philipponnat family has long maintained a conservation-focused approach to their ancestral plots, treating the soils in a way that ensures their preservation for future generations.
Centuries of Savoir-Faire in the Winery
The historic savoir-faire and decades-old champagne style of the Philipponnat family is reflected in the use of the solera process at the winery. By this method, the winery team stores reserve wines in oak barrels, including them in their non-vintage blends (around ¼ to 1/3 of the blend) and then using this blend as a reserve wine for the next blend. This successive blending allows each bottle to retain characteristics of the previous year’s blend, going back several years. In fact, Philipponnat was the first of the Champagne Houses to label its non-vintage champagnes with the main year used in the blend.
The champagnes of Philipponnat are made exclusively with the first press juice of the highest quality grapes from the House’s mainly Premier and Grand Cru plots. Some of the wines are fermented and matured in wood casks, lending them exceptional complexity. The wines are then aged on lees in bottle for three to eleven years. Philipponnat champagnes are, primarily, great wines and exquisite expressions of terroir, produced in a powerful yet very well-balanced style.
A Signature Style and an Exquisite Range
Today, Philipponnat produces a range of three vintage cuvées and three non-vintage cuvées, rounded out by four prestige champagnes: Cuvée 1522, Cuvée 1522 Rosé, Clos de Goisses and Clos de Goisses Juste Rosé. And finally, Philipponnat also produces 2 single-plot cuvées from the finest terroirs of their property. What these 13 beautiful champagnes have in common is the house’s signature style: an aromatic intensity typical of Pinot Noir, a freshness and a minerality.
In the non-vintage category, the Royale Réserve Brut blends Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from first press juices of mainly Grand and Premier Cru grapes. Around 20-30% of the reserve wines are aged in wooden barrels through the solera system. With its aromas of vine blossom, linden and toast, this champagne is the purest expression of the Philipponnat style. The House also produces an Extra Brut Champagne named the Royale Reserve Non Dose. This cru extra brut blends the three grapes and is undosed (0 grams/liter) to produce a great cuvée “without artifice.” The Philipponnat Royale Reserve Rose is made from 75% Pinot Noir. This intense, fresh and elegant reserve rose brut champagne offers gorgeous summer berry, cherry and grapefruit peel aromas.
The Philipponnat vintage champagne range includes three wines offering unique expressions of great Champagne terroirs in the best years. This range of vintage wines includes a vintage Blanc de Noir champagne brut, the Grand Blanc (a 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs) and the Sublime Réserve Sec, perfect to serve with creamy dishes. These three wines are exceptional food-pairing champagnes, guaranteed to make for unforgettable centerpieces at your next festive meal.
The Philipponnat prestige range includes the extra brut Cuvée 1522 made from historic plots at Le Leon in Ay and its rose expression with a mineral, fruity and spicy style. The most famous Philipponnat cuvée, however, is the Clos des Goisses from the House’s historic slope in Mareuil-sur-Aye. Charles Philipponnat also developed a rosé expression, the Clos de Goisses Juste Rose.
And finally, the Philipponnat single-plot bottlings: Le Léon from a plot first planted by Apvril le Philipponnat in 1522, the extra brut La Rémissionne from a Premier Cru plot made from 100% Pinot Noir and the Champagne Philipponnat Les Cintres single-vineyard Clos des Goisses, offering the most intense single-vineyard expression of this legendary terroir.
We hope you learned more about the legendary range of champagnes by Philipponnat. If you have any questions on the price and tax of these wine or on where to find the Clos de Goisses in magnum format, do not hesitate to reach out to our team directly! We will also be able to walk you through our wines from around the world, from the best of Reims, Italy, Bordeaux, Madeira and California!