Philipponnat Brut Royale Reserve NV
The Philipponnat family has been based in the Champagne region since the 17th century. Their history dates effectively back to 28th July 1697, when Pierre Philipponnat registered his coat of arms - chequered in gold and red - still the emblem of the house to this day. After establishing themselves as vineyard owners, the Philipponnats started elaborating champagnes in the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1910, Auguste and Pierre Philipponnat created the champagne house and acquired historical cellars dating back to the 18th century in Mareuil-sur-Ay. In 1935, Pierre purchased Clos des Goisses, located at the edge of the village, which had previously been owned by several vintners. By so doing, he was able to reconstitute this exceptional vineyard entirely made up of hillsides facing southward -unparalleled in the Champagne region. Philipponnat is one of the main owners of grand and premier cru vineyards, with its 17-hectare vineyard holding comprising mainly Pinot Noir grapes. The vines are located in the villages of Mareuil, Avenay, Mutigny and Ay and each have traditional and symbolic names: Les Remissones, La Bauve, Buisson Saint Loup, Cuivron, etc. Clos des Goisses proper includes 5.5 hectares of exceptional vines, entirely on southward-facing slopes, overlooking the Marne river. On this unique site, work is still carried out by hand, and workers use small foot-ladders to reach the various plots, all walled in and bathed in sunshine, producing very mature grapes. From atop the vineyards, at a place called Le Gruguet, you can see all of the wine-producing regions of Champagne: a prospect of great beauty - and great money - right up to the distant horizon. From this site, which is truly unique in the Champagne region, Philipponnat produces an exceptional wine, Cuvée du Clos des Goisses. Philipponnat relies on this historical strength and on these rich assets and supplements its grape supplies through close partnerships, dating back several generations, with vintners located in the best crus of the Cote des Blancs region, the Marne Valley and the Montagne de Reims region. Thus, as with other great champagne houses, it has been able to create a consistency of style and of quality across the range of its wines from the house style of the Royale Réserve Brut to the Clos des Goisses. Pinot Noir grapes predominate in the blends (except for the Grand Blanc) giving its wines their full body, rounded flavour and distinctive structure. The Royale Réserve comprises Pinot Noir mixed with Chardonnay and a small proportion of Pinot Meunier. It is the culmination of blending twenty five different crus from diverse areas of the Champagne region and from several vintage years. Pale gold with fine persistent mousse it reveals aromas of citrus and red fruits and notes of delicately yeasty fresh bread. In the mouth the wine is smooth and well-structured with a flicker of lime on the attack unfolding into a richer palate of red fruits and apples.
Along the banks of the River Marne and close to the Mareuil sur Aÿ Roman church, which is situated in the middle of its own vineyards, Champagne Philipponnat produces wines with an exceptional house style. The main courtyard opens onto a beautiful classic façade situated just behind a gate stamped with the family coat of arms. Here lies the heart of Philipponnat - its XVIIIth Century cellars where, shielded from the world, its wines slowly mature.
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