Royale Réserve Brut – Philipponnat.
Champagne is not just a category in the world of wine, for many people it represents a way of life and it is being associated with a glamorous and possibly royal lifestyle. Royal is certainly a word that is fitting for this review, as we will take a look at one of the Champagnes produced by the house of Philipponnat. This reserve champagne even carries the name “Royale” and we will soon find out why.
About the Winery
The rich history of Philipponnat Champagne dates to 1522, when Apvril le Philipponnat founded the House. Records disclose that Philipponnat’s family-owned vineyard in Le Léon, between Aÿ and Dizy were growing grapes way before Champagne became a sparkling wine. Soon the family became wine merchants to the French aristocracy and Royal Court, supplying to the court of Louis XIV while using to its advantage its proximity to Reims. The eponymous maison, as we know it today, was founded in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ in 1910 by Pierre and Auguste Philipponnat. As Charles Philipponnat said, the transition “from farmers to businessmen started in 1910.”
In recent years, with Charles Philipponnat at the reigns of the Maison since 2000, the house has embedded its style established by history and tradition. Charles has learned the magic from his father Rene, who was chef de caves at Moët from 1949 to 1977, and responsible for the 1961 Dom Perignon, among other Champagne legends. The 16thgeneration remains faithful to Champagne’s land heritage and practice.
The Maison’s portfolio offers a range of 13 diverse styles of Champagnes. From non-vintage to vintage, from multi varietal to single varietal. You may start your morning with Philipponnat and toast your dinner with it. Most importantly, every glass of effervescence will take you on a different voyage. Philipponnat is still located in the town of Mareuil-Sur-Ay in the Vallée de la Marne area of Champagne, France.
In the Vineyard and Cellar
Royale Réserve lends its name from the ancestors of the Philipponnat family. The wine is produced from the finest grapes which are grown in Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards. Final blend constituents of 65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier.
Vinification takes place following the traditional method with the utmost care, to avoid premature oxidation. The unique part of blending portion comes from reserve wines (20-30%) that are aged in oak casks using the solera system: each year wines are re-blended to enhance complexity without losing its minerality. Wine has undergone partial malolactic fermentation. Aged on the lees in the House’s cellars at a constant temperature of 12°C for three years. Dosage is 8g/l to enhance wines vinosity without masking its fresh character.
About the Wine
In the glass a medium lemon colour, with the glistening rim of gold. Medium intensity on the nose. First nose reveals versatile clusters of aromas. Lemon curd sprinkled by lemon zest chaperoned by a cup of green tea. The delicate odor of jasmine bouquet is like a silver lining through your olfactory experience. Second nose is enriched with melted butter dripping from freshly baked croissant and the basket of orchard garden fruit. On the palate the wine strikes with dense vinosity yet delivering freshness and sensual palpation of your mouth by delicate effervescence. The prolonged finale leaves honeyed aftertaste.
Champagne does not need to be Vintage to be classified as great. A five hundred-year, deep-rooted, legacy manifests: where there is passion there is quality. We would like to finalize with Charles Philipponnat words: “It is easy to celebrate in Champagne. We just open bottles.”
We award this excellent Champagne with a 94-point DWA score.
This review is written by our own Jelena van Eerdenburg. Philipponnat Champagne is imported in the Netherlands by Vinites and available through associated retailers and restaurants.
Taste date: March 2023
Score: 94/100 DWA Score
Website: Champagne Philipponnat