Abundantly regal and intense. At once sharp, structured and refined.
An intriguing champagne expressing a clear predominance of Pinot Noir. Luminous straw yellow colour with gold hues, elegant perlage with fine, persistent bubbles. Warm aromas of citrus, mandarin, cranberry, orange blossom, magnolia, dried roses, dried apricot, vanilla, toasted and brioche. Subdued intensity on the nose turns into a powerful palate with high acidity and minerality, well balanced with a slight sweetness. Finishing with a long persistence with notes of pomegranate and plum.
The Philipponnat family tradition runs over 5 generations of Champagne production in the heart of Champagne, in the region of Vallée de la Marne. Among their vineyards is Clos des Goisses, part of the family’s property for nearly 100 years. This “Clos” is noted for its steep 45 degree slant facing south in one of the hottest territories of the region. Historically, this family winery was also one of the suppliers of Champagne for King Louis XIV.
Their Champagne is made mostly from Premiers and Grand Crus grapes and exclusively from Cuvée. Royale Réserve Brut is a blend of 65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier. The wine is aged in oak after fermentation with a partial malolactic fermentation before being bottled and aged in contact with its yeasts for 3 years. After the dégorgement, the wine is dosed with 8 grams per litre of sugar, making it a Brut Champagne.
A predominance of Pinot Noir is a signature trait in all Philipponnat wines, and this wine is stated as the purest expression of the “Maison” style. One particular feature of production is the use of the solera method for riserve wines in which new wine is added to older wines ageing in oak barrels and blended each year successively.
Not only has it been claimed that King Louis XIV rarely drank anything other than champagne, he also had a hand in the spread of its popularity. He tasted his first glass at his coronation in the cathedral of Rheims in 1654. At the time, champagne was mostly known and drunk only in that region. However the extravagant spectacle of Versailles, and in particular, Louis XIV’s elaborate dinner banquets, inspired other royal courts to follow suit and champagne became diffused throughout Europe.
The Sun King took every opportunity to make his daily life a public spectacle, meal times included. His evening meal, called “Le Grand Couvert “, was served at 10 o’clock in l’Antichambre du Grand Couvert in the Queen’s apartments. The king would sit on a large armchair at a large rectangular table, with any guests seated at the sides, in order to keep the view of the eating king clear for the crowds of spectators witnessing the event. No expense was spared in the extravagance of the table displaying gold, silver and crystal dishes on a pristine, white table cloth. Over 324 people worked to prepare and serve the meal of over 30 different dishes ranging from pâté to soups to pheasant to roasted boar, duck and lamb, oysters, shellfish, fruits and cakes. Each dish was escorted from the kitchen to the table by guards and servants announced the dishes to spectators as they passed. And of course, each meal was accompanied by either red wine from Burgandy or Champagne.
A piece of history that Philipponnat can boast being a part of, and an intriguing image the next time you sip a glass of champagne.