Most Admired Champagne Brands 2017: 16-30

03 February, 2017


Charles Philipponnat, who runs this eponymous house and can trace his ancestors in the area back to Apvril le Philipponnat who owned vines there in 1522, has gradually reshaped this business over the past decade. He’s put the emphasis on Pinot Noir, which is at the heart of most of the Philipponnat range, making up two-thirds of the Royal Réserve Brut blend and three-quarters of the Royal Réserve Brut Rosé.

Its Pinot Noir credentials have been advanced by changing its straight vintage into a Blanc de Noirs with effect from 2008. This is a top-class blend – 60% from Philipponnat’s own 17ha of vineyards in Aÿ, Mareuil and Avenay, plus 40% from Mailly, Sillery and Verzy. Made in a very vinous style, as Philipponnat says he sees his champagnes as wines first and foremost. Two single vineyard Blanc de Noirs champagnes were produced in tiny quantities in 2006 in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and a plot named Le Léon in Aÿ, where Apvril le Philipponnat owned vines nearby. Both are great, individual expressions of Pinot. The 2002 Clos des Goisses, a 5.5ha plot with a 45° incline facing due south, receiving no shade from sunrise to sunset and probably the warmest site in all Champagne, was the star of a recent 2002 prestige cuvée tasting in London.

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