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While we here at Chambers Street Wines lilke to focus on the small, sometimes estoteric, and the often idiosyncratic there are exceptions: historically important and soulful Lopez de Heredia or California benchmark Ridge. And in the case of Champagne Philipponnat dating from 1522 we have history and undeniable classicism married to smaller grower's aesthetic. With origins in the 16th centrury the family has inhabited Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ for centuries. The current steward of the Pinot Noir-centric house is the dynamic Charles Philipponnat who took the reins in 1999 and introduced changes in the cellar and the vines by refining the pressing and elèvage, as well as moving towards organic viticulture. Further the house is blessed with the singularly dramatic Clos des Goisses climat in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ; the south-facing, vertiginously-sloped 5.5 ha parcel overlooks the Marne River, which reflects sunling onto the vines lending an extra degree of ripeness to the fruit. The eponymous wine from the vineyard are powerfully ripe, but also display pinpoint balance and remarkable length aging with with aplomb. Also of note are the Cuvées 1522 Extra Brut and the magnificent 1522 Extra-Brut Rosé; both display the house style of richness married to mineral precision and savory Pinot-dominant fruit. Charles Philipponnat has seemingly been on a roll for the last decade and these releases are deeply satisfying and cellar worthy. John McIlwain
*Wines are pre-arrival and will be available 7/25.
Comprised of majority Pinot Noir (81% in 2014) from Le Léon in Aÿ and Chardonnay from Cramant and Mesnil-sur-Oger, the 1522 Extra-Brut is red-fruited, textured, layered, and long. Beautiful notes of white peach, lemon curd and peach skin are underlain by a firm mineral core, while six years on the lees have lent a distinctive savory note beneath the ripe fruit. This is already showing plenty of complexity, but time in the cellar will reveal more nuance and detail. Delicious. 4.5 g/l dosage. John McIlwain
Presumably the "base" rosé from Philipponnat, this is anything but. 75% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, and 5% Pinot Meunier. Made up of first press juice from the 2017 vintage with reserve wines from a solera aged in barrel and still red wine from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Riceys added to imbue a pale salmon robe. The Royal Reserve Brut offers pretty aromas of red berries and wild cherry on the nose. The palate is fruity on the the attack with a fine vibrant bead of chalk shimmering within. This is a delicious, well-knit, easy-going rosé Champagne, long on charm and with surprising depth. 9 g/l dosage. John McIlwain
A notable figure in the New York wine scene once delineated Champagne into the categories Grower or "Fancy." And while I love "farmer fizz"there is plenty of pleasure to be derived from the Fancy stuff and this bottle certainly qualifies. The Philipponnat 1522 Extra-Brut Rosé is an extravagantly delicious bottle of Champagne. Pale sunset on the clouds pink in the glass with an ultra-fine bead and soft mousse. The nose offers a lovely mélange of red fruit aromas (red currant, fraises des bois, wild cherry, raspberry and more) with hints of tangerine skin, rose petal, and cream. The palate is opulently rich and textured with and expansive and powerful finish and pinpoint detail. John McIlwain
Coming from the most dramatic vineyards of Champagne,the 2012 Clos des Goisses is made up of 61% Pinot Noir, 39% Chardonnay, with about 60% of the vins clairs fermented in barrel, then aged sur latte for 8 years and disgorged in Spring of 2021 and bottled with 4.5 g/l dosage. The low-yielding 2012 vintage has resulted in a concentrated and suave release of the Clos des Goisses. The robe is a pale gold with a fine bead and soft, frothy mousse. The nose offers aromas of ripe stone fruit, acacia honey, lemon curd and toast. The palate is rich and powerful (verging on muscular) with opulent the fruit under-girded by substantial structure and an expansive, lingering finish. This is already showing great complexity, but further aging should to allow the elements to knit will result in a dazzling Champagne. Highly recommended. John McIlwain