Champagne Philipponnat Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut 2016
Champagne Philipponnat Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut 2016 “One of the finest [portfolios] in Champagne…” – Peter Liem
Flavor Profile: Roses, peaches, raspberries, and golden plums, tropical mango, almond, hazelnut, and strawberries
Time on Lees: 60 months
Disgorgement Date: September 2022
Dosage: 4.5 grams per liter
Why We Love It...
For nearly 500 years, the Philipponnat family has tended vines in Champagne. They’ve supplied the courts of kings and queens, and lay claim to a number of firsts in the region – from indicating the primary vintages used in non-vintage blends, to including dosage levels and disgorgement dates on their back label (which we LOVE!) and even making Champagne’s very first single-named vineyard Champagne offering with their revered Clos des Goisse bottling nearly a century ago.
Today, the estate is run by Charles Philipponnat – the latest in the long enduring and historic Champagne family. He took over the running of the estate in 1999 and Philipponnat has enjoyed perhaps its most successful era to date under his supervision. His father was the revered chef de caves at Moët from 1949 to 1977 – crafting the iconic 1961 Dom Pérignon, among others, during his tenure there. You could argue that great Champagne is simply in his blood, and after one sip of this – you’ll broker no argument from me!
This exceptional 2016 vintage Blanc de Noirs is crafted exclusively from pinot noir, selected from choice plots in the Grand Cru village of Verzy and Premier Cru village of Mareuil-sur-Ay. The myriad parcels and picks are all fermented separately to start, with some fermentations occuring in stainless steel vats, and others in oak barrels. A somewhat unique rule, and one that I absolutely love, is that all stainless lots undergo malolactic fermentation, while all oak lots do not. The thought here is that a “neutral” vessel like steel benefits from the added texture and flavors of secondary fermentation, but the oak lots require the bright verve of malic acid to be preserved in order to prevent a sappy heaviness in the lots. I think that is brilliant in theory, and will keep an eye out for any house in the future that follows the same.
What is not a mere theory, however, is the quality of this cuvee. Immediately apparent, as the bright and coppery juice hits the glass, bubbling up with a creamy and stable mousse that abounds with expressive notes of roses, peaches, raspberries, and golden plums, with whispers of baked apricots, and tropical mango notes. Toasty almond and hazelnut accents continue in the mouth, with a ripe sweetness reminiscent of summer strawberries dipped in confectioner’s sugar. The finish is chiseled and pure, with salt and slate, and a bright vein of mint and citrine zip carrying the wine to a luminous and enchanting resolution. Simply fantastic stuff, that is clearly deserving of a fine 95 point score. Only about 10 cases available… so grab yours while we’ve got it!
Appellation: Montagne de Reims
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Thierry Garnier
Pair it with: Chicken tagine with apricots and almonds
About the Producer
Champagne Philipponnat, a prestigious Champagne house founded in 1910 in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, France, has a rich heritage rooted in family tradition and exceptional winemaking. Their story is one of dedication to crafting high-quality, terroir-driven Champagnes, with a focus on the Pinot Noir grape variety. Over the decades, they have maintained a commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly viticulture practices, ensuring the grapes' optimal expression. Philipponnat's signature cuvée, "Clos des Goisses," sourced from a unique and historic vineyard on steep slopes along the Marne River, has become renowned for its elegance and character, cementing the house's reputation as a producer of exceptional Champagnes enjoyed by connoisseurs worldwide.
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