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Philipponnat Clos des Goisses becomes first Champagne to be sold via La Place

Though small, the release is likely to send ripples through Bordeaux, Champagne and the broader fine-wine world.

On 21 September, one of the oldest and most famous Champagne houses, Philipponnat (present in Champagne since 1522), will release two vintages of its iconic Clos des Goisses, undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest wines.

This first release will be small and only four negociants have been selected for an allocation. The wines will undoubtedly sell out almost instantaneously.

The two Champagnes chosen for this first release are the exceptional new 2012 vintage of Clos des Goisses (arguably the best vintage in the last 20 years) and the still rarer late-released ‘LV’ (long vieillissementmillésime 1996. Both were disgorged this spring (in April and March respectively).

I was lucky enough to visit Philipponnat last week during the harvest of the 2021 Clos des Goisses itself, to taste these exquisite and exceptional wines and to talk with proprietor Charles Philipponnat about the timing and strategy for their release on la place.

Interestingly, if perhaps unsurprisingly, it was la place that came to Philipponnat rather than Philipponnat to la place. But, crucially, Charles Philipponnat tells me, it was they who ultimately chose both their courtier and the four negociants to whom they have entrusted an allocation of the new releases.

Those allocations are small so as not to disrupt long-standing relationship with existing distributors.

The aim of the project is two-fold:

  • to broaden further the already impressively global distribution of Clos des Goisses (with a distribution in 45 countries already); and, no less significantly,
  • to achieve a still finer-grained allocation of their wines to the true champagne-lover (the French word amateur captures this better but is practically impossible to translate), to restaurants and to the hotel sector.

Charles Philipponnat talks about this in terms of the capilarité that la place can offer. This, too, is not easily conveyed in English. Essentially, he means, the capacity to take a given allocation and to partition it in such a way as to place smaller quantities of each wine in the hands of a larger number of clients.

And the overall aim of that, of course, is to ensure that these precious and rare wines are, ultimately, drunk and appreciated. As such the hope is to deploy the considerable resources that la place has to offer to reinforce rather than to change in any significant way the long-standing strategy of the house.

What is clear, particularly after tasting the wines, is that they deserve their place on la place alongside the very best that Bordeaux has to offer.


For Charles Philipponnat, the 16th generation of his family to direct the property, Philipponnat’s wines, above all Clos des Goisses itself, are somewhat closer in conception and philosophy to the leading crus of Pomerol than they are to the typically much larger volume production of the left-bank classed growths.

These are wines sensitively crafted from their specific and distinct terroirs that seek to capture their singular expression in each vintage.

The result is a unique style that is at the same time supremely vinous, intense and concentrated and yet profoundly fresh and dynamic. The vines themselves are harvested relatively late and at full maturity to capture as much potential for complexity as possible.

There is typically no malolactic fermentation so as to lock in as much natural freshness and acidity as possible and, in so doing, to balance the natural power of the terroir, building in the process the tension and poise that is the very signature of Philipponnat. And the wine-making is respectful and non-interventionist, with somewhat lower oak usage than previously and, in general, low dosage.

This style finds its purest and most supreme expression in Clos des Goisses (as indeed in the very rare micro-cuvée of Clos des Goisses, Les Cintres, released last in the 2010 vintage).

The first vintage of a Champagne bearing the name Clos des Goisses dates from the early 1950s. But its history pre-dates even that. For Clos des Goisses was, in fact, both the first Clos and the first single-vineyard Champagne to be vinified separately – first, by the Bouché family of Mareuil-sur-Ay from the 1880s until the 1930s and then, from 1935, by the Philipponnat family following its acquisition.

The name itself was coined in the early 1950s by the founder of La Revue du Vin de France, Raymond Baudouin, a great admirer of the grands crus of Burgundy.

In keeping with that reputation and that association, Clos des Goisses has consistently provided the very best evidence for the argument that the greatest Champagne comes from the greatest (single) terroirs, rather than from a blend of vineyards and a blend of terroirs.

It is perhaps the most vinous of all of the great Champagnes and there is little doubting the singularity and exceptional character of the terroir it expresses.

The vineyard is the largest Clos in the appellation, at 5.83 hectares; it slopes steeply downwards to the Marne river valley with an inclination of up to 45 degrees; its exposure is pure South and, as such, it is generally regarded as the warmest vineyard in the entire appellation – perfect for the Pinot Noir that thrives on its thin soil over the pure chalk bedrock beneath.

It is hardly surprising that Peter Liem should refer to it as “arguably the greatest vineyard site in all of Champagne”.



In charge of a 49 acres vineyard, Charles Philipponnat wishes to highlight quality. « We have been working with quality in mind for the past 15 years. This is achieved through small details, such as wooden stick at the start of each rank, fiberwood clips or paper ties. More important, we have chosen to grow exclusively black Pinot. We use field selections from Burgundy origins, with lesser performance, but better maturing qualities. We only use organic fertilizers, and we arrange grassy banks along with wild hedgerows to help developp wildlife. All the weeds clearing is done manually, without chemicals, and the out of reeach part of the Clos de Goisses is done by hand, using a finger weeder. »

This former Sciences Po graduate can go on and on about this subject bound to become the company’s main communication strategy.
« This certification helps put forward our way of doing things, even if the quality of our wines is our best advocate. We are not a « bio » winery, but close enough, because we do ban totally the use of copper sulfate, much more toxic in our opinion than the synthetic products available to fight off Mildiou, the vineyard’s worts ennemy in mild climates ».




The Philipponnat family, owners of the award-winning vineyard, have been in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ since 1522. In 1935, the founder of the champagne house, Pierre Philipponnat, bought the 5.5-hectare vineyard, and created Champagne’s first clos wine in 1947. Today, the house belongs to Lanson–BCC’s portfolio and is managed by Charles Philipponnat, who is also the winemaker charged with the peculiar task of trying to tame the wild style of Clos des Goisses. He is the man who returned the wines into oak barrels, but it is very difficult to detect the influence of that move, as even the steel tank-fermented vintages develop an oak-like bouquet as they age. The unique steep slope by the canal in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ is planted with 70 per cent Pinot Noir and 30 per cent Chardonnay, but most vintages contain 65 per cent Pinot Noir, as a small portion of the grapes end up in other cuvées. In some years, the house also produces a rare but unexciting still red from the crop. Even rarer and much more exciting are the 200 bottles of still Chardonnay that Philipponnat produces each year for its own use.



Philipponnat owns 18 hectares of vines and farms another two under a sharecropping agreement, all of which are located in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Aÿ, Avenay Val d’Or and Mutigny. Mareuil-sur-Aÿ makes up the majority of the house’s holdings, and their 11 hectares there include the magnificent, 5.5-hectare Clos des Goisses, Champagne’s most renowned vineyard site, from which they make a vintage-dated, single-vineyard champagne. The house has traditionally fermented all wines in tank or old oak foudres, but since 2000 the Clos des Goisses has been partially (40 to 50 percent) fermented in 228-liter oak barrels. Some barrel-fermented wine can be used for other cuvées as well, and this is likely to increase in the future. In 2004, Philipponnat completed a new winery next to the cellars in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ to accommodate all of the winemaking, and this has undoubtedly resulted in an improvement in quality, as in the past their presshouse was located in Reims. While the Clos des Goisses is always made without malolactic, the other champagnes contain a portion of malolactic wines depending on the cuvée and the vintage.



Since taking over in 1999, Charles has returned Philipponnat to its last Golden Age, 1913-1962, when Louis Boland was chef de caves. Boland's wines were the essence of Pinot Noir from the house's vineyards in the Montagne de Reims. Charles' Champagnes also fully exploit these prized vineyards, and the resulting wines revel in their Pinot-infused glory.

Under Charles, Philipponnat's wines aren't just more intense, they're also fresher (due to using only first-pressing Chardonnay). And to the traditional tank and foudre fermentation, Charles has added smaller neutral barrels for more depth and complexity. To maximize their character, the non-vintage wines age for 3 years en tirage, while the vintage cuvées spend from 5 to 10 years on the lees.

Through great vision, technical skill and perfectionist attention to detail–and the pride of five centuries of tradition–Charles has created a range of Champagnes with few peers for quality and character. This ranges from the towering Clos des Goisses to the superb Royale Réserve and Reserve Rosé, two of the finest non-vintage brut Champagnes on the market today.


Inside information

I always find this impressive world-class wine one of the most elusive and perplexing wines out there. Sometimes I don’t get it and ask myself whether I’ve overestimated its potential, only to wonder the next time how I could have underrated this uncut diamond. Why is it like that? The most obvious explanation is that we are dealing with a “slow starter”; a real cellar wine that needs decades to fully unfurl its colourful peacock’s tail. But assuming that time by itself can explain the phenomenon would be to trivialise this single-vineyard wine’s dual personality.

For me, it is Champagne’s number one still white wine, together with Giraud’s Aÿ Blanc. For the sake of precision, it might be proper to note that this, one of Champagne’s finest vineyards, is not a grand cru and only has premier cru status. A serious flaw in the system, it seems. Recently of an evening I brought together a small group of like-minded Clos des Goisses fans to taste the last seven vintages. It was very obvious that the simple 2001 had the most linear development in that set. This phenomenon leads to there being highly diverse personal descriptions even when wine experts try to capture the vineyard’s true essence. I think timing is a key factor, even more so than usual, when enjoying Clos de Goisses. If you have no idea what phase the wine is at, it is best to be sure and wait until the wine’s 20-year mark. Then the characteristic nuttiness and cakey tones will stand out in one way or another. If you lack the patience for that, invest in lesser-known vintages, which mature sooner. Regardless of the vintage, remember always to decant Clos des Goisses and serve it with carefully considered food. Decanting a champagne can be tricky, as it is crucial to cool down the carafe to the same temperature as the bottle, and to have a very steady pouring hand so as not to lose too much of its sparkle. Our chef Carl Ljung very skilfully combined veal, mushrooms, seaweed, turbot, puy lentils, duck liver and Comté fondue with these gastro-friendly wines. Let your Goisses rest in the cellar until the autumn chill and use it to crown magnificent winter dinners with its deep, golden majesty.

Richard Juhlin


20 different wines with 145 vintages


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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Essi Avellan MW / BWW2024 Finalist, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Salon 2012 / “A rollercoaster year in the vineyards with hopes for a quality crop only rising at harvest time. Salon initially wasn't promising a vintage, but changed its mind having come up with something instantly rewarding. Bright, sweetly fruity nose on the sweet green fruit side: lime, pear drops, licorice, jasmine and fragrant orange blossom tones. A flick of vanilla complements the whole. The palate has a silky flow of volume yet a firm backbone of brisk acidity enhancing the notion of explosive fruitiness. The chalky mineral bite comes forward on the long, intense and dry finish. This wine hasn’t moved a lot in the past year, promising longevity. Disgorged 3/21; dosage 5g/l”

11d 5h ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines and Champagne Magazine, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  7 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  7 wines 

The Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 1952 is a legendary Champagne that has gracefully stood the test of time, showcasing the remarkable aging potential of this historic cuvée. As I gently pour this golden elixir into the glass, it immediately reveals its extraordinary complexity.

On the nose, a symphony of aromas unfolds. The initial whiff offers enticing notes of toasted brioche and warm croissants, a testament to the extended aging on the lees. Delicate scents of dried apricots, candied orange peel, and roasted nuts soon follow, creating a harmonious blend of richness and elegance. There's a subtle hint of honey and a touch of minerality that adds depth to the bouquet.

The palate is equally captivating. This Champagne possesses a remarkable effervescence, with tiny, delicate bubbles that dance on the tongue. Flavors of ripe yellow apples, baked pears, and lemon zest greet the palate with a delightful freshness. The mouthfeel is creamy and luxurious, a testament to the extended aging.

What sets the Clos des Goisses 1952 apart is its impeccable balance. Despite its age, it maintains a vibrant acidity that keeps the wine fresh and lively. The finish is exceptionally long and layered, leaving a lasting impression of citrus, toasted almonds, and a subtle saline minerality.

22d 4h ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  13 wines 

Salon is simply one of the most thrilling champagnes available, though only made in tiny quantities and only as a vintage wine. It was different to the Comtes, as one would expect, but I could not say which was better. Both so good. This 1995 Magnum was like glacéd lemon and hazelnuts with frangipani notes. Like drinking liquid crystal (as opposed to Cristal). Balanced and elegant, with crunchy acidity and a neverending finish. 99+.

3m 23d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines and Champagne Magazine, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  45 wines 

Historical tasting day - none of the champagnes we tasted received less than 90 points. Champagne Magazine have had so far 86 "The 100 Best Champagne of the Year-tasting" - days since 2009, and today was the most rewarding day ever - none of the tasters gave less than 90 points to any of the 45 champagnes we tasted:)

8m 22d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines and Champagne Magazine, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  55 wines 

The Day 2 of the Champagne Magazine's yearly tasting: The 100 Best Champagnes 2023 - The level of champagnes is clearly better than, for example, 10 years ago - The average score has risen by more than 5 points. It is also gratifying that the number of corked bottles has dropped to almost zero, when just 10 years ago one out of ten was corked. Five more tasting days left :)

9m 1d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines and Champagne Magazine, Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  37 wines 

Ruinart is one of the oldest Champagne houses, exclusively producing champagne since 1729.
“In the name of God and the Holy Virgin shall this book be opened…” It was with these words, written by Nicolas Ruinart on 1 September 1729, that the House of Ruinart was officially established. A true entrepreneur, Nicolas Ruinart fulfilled the ambition of his uncle, the Benedictine monk Dom Thierry Ruinart, a close friend of Dom Pérignon, to make Ruinart the premier Champagne house.
A resounding success was made possible by the perceptiveness of its initiator, Dom Ruinart, to whom the Ruinart House paid tribute in 1959 by creating the historic, prestigious Dom Ruinart vintage.
This beautiful Dom Ruinart 2010 was in perfect condition. Decanted 15 minutes. Very deep, clear, almost colourless. The nose is marvellously toffeed, with citrus and pure, ripe mineral-rich flavours. Beautiful, vivid, creamy and wide mousse and a mouth-filling weight of rich fruit. Lots of dense, full, exotic flavours and a touch of honey depth.  Beautifully concentrated and powerful, yet balanced and gracious. Very charming, intense  and vigorous wine. 96 points

10m 25d ago

 Philipponnat  has updated producer and wine information

1y 3m ago

 Philipponnat  has updated producer and wine information

1y 6m ago

 Lu Yang / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires Blanc de Blancs 2004 / Light yellow-gold. Pungent aromas of lemon, orange and pear, complicated by sexy floral and gingerbread qualities and hints of toasty lees and honey. Lively on entry, with lively citrus flavors, then deeper and smokier in the middle palate, offering juicy orchard fruit and honeyed nut flavors and good mineral snap. The finish lingers with suave floral and spice notes and excellent persistence

1y 10m ago

 Lu Yang / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  2 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 2010 / A beautiful Champagne, featuring fragrant notes of toasted brioche and grilled nut that are more subtle on the palate, transitioning to a rich underpinning layered with a pure chime of tangerine and accents of candied ginger, toasted saffron and lime blossom. This bundles a lot of concentrated flavor into a lithe frame. The fine mousse caresses the palate through to the lasting finish. Perhaps the best one from the 2010 vintage!

2y 22d ago

 Julia Harding MW / BWW2024 Finalist, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  2 wines  from  Philipponnat . In a tasting of  16 wines 

Cullen Diana Madeline 2019 / Deep dark red. Elegant aroma which is marked by cassis and a light leafiness and a suggestion of Cabernet Franc's characteristic blackcurrant-leaf quality. Dry, refined tannins giving a dry mineral character. Plush and full in the mouth, the mineral character as much in the tannins as in flavour. ‘Toast to mum’, says Vanya Cullen. Smoky but not reductive. Layers of paper-fine tannins. Elegant. Opens up to a slight note of curry leaf. Or is it tobacco, or both? Very, very dry without being drying. Ultimate in refinement. 

2y 1m ago

 Philipponnat  has updated producer and wine information

2y 2m ago

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