Clos de Gooses – One of Champagne’s greatest terroirs…
The noise surrounding single vineyard Champagnes has never been louder – a trend driven initially (and seemingly paradoxically) by the larger houses, then more recently by the growers. One of the original single vineyard sites, if not actually the first (that honour goes to Clos du Mesnil, originally a grower parcel before its acquisition by the house of Krug), was Clos des Goisses, the jewel in the impressive Philipponnat stable and one of Champagne’s very finest vineyards. The first known vintage of this great site was 1935, and in the intervening years this special plot has become known for producing powerful and long lived champagnes that possess a unique combination of ripeness and structure.
The first question of any single vineyard is whether the production is consistently good enough, or better, than what might be achieved throu gh blending. Not all vineyards have the magic touch that Goisses possesses. That it is a special vineyard is in no doubt. As Tom Stevenson reported in World of Fine Wine issue 49 – “In my experience of watching how individual vineyards perform over 35 vintages, the two that stand out in this respect are Clos des Goisses and Clos du Mesnil, but for completely different reasons. It is the unique topography of Clos des Goisses (which always allows some parcels to excel) – in conjunction with its high active lime content (30 percent compared to 25 percent throughout the rest of Mareuil-sur-Ay) and significantly warmer microclimate (2.7 ° F higher mean temperature during the growing season) – that endows this vineyard with the intrinsic ability to produce something special”
The 2006 vintage from Clos des Goisses has now bowled us over on two tasting occasions. The impressively steep, south facing aspect of the Goisses vineyard, that leads down to the River Marne (one reason for such consistent ripeness) has produced a wine of considerable concentration and length, fabulously ripe fruit and the structure and tension for extended cellaring. It is as good as anything we’ve tasted from the 2006 vintage, and likely to get a whole lot better with some years in bottle. The vital statistics are as follows: 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 4.5 g/l of dosage, disgorged May 2015 after 8 years sur lie. – Justerini & Brooks, 19 February 2016
Champagne Philipponnat have released the 2004 & 2005 vintages of their celebrated champagne Clos de Goisses.
When Richard Juhlin compiled his list of the 50 best late disgorged Champagnes for ‘The World of Fine Wine’ a staggering 10 places were filled by Philipponnat Clos des Goisses. At number two in the chart was the `55 with 99 points. Clos des Goisses also took 6th with 98 points, 11th, 14th, 17th (all 97 points) 27th, 28th (96) 41st, 42nd (95) and 50th (94) – quite respectable for a little known house! But, amongst aficionados, Philipponnat is a very big name with a formidable reputation for aging into some of the most complex and aristocratic wines of the region.
Described as “one of the true icons of Champagne” and as “consistently one of the world’s foremost wines”, the Clos des Goisses vineyard is probably as unique as the wine it yields. Purchased in 1935 and overlooking the river Marne, its dizzying incline of between 30 and 45 degrees makes it one of the steepest in the region, helping create a completely individual microclimate that can be up to three degrees warmer than the rest of Champagne. This means that even in cool vintages, the wines have atypical power, depth and texture, coupled to a wonderfully pure and intense mineral backbone. In short, these are exhilarating and age-worthy wines of the very highest order.
2004 was a truly exceptional year for this hallowed wine and the very first vintage to be made in Philipponnat’s new hi-tech winery. Antonio Galloni was completely taken by it, calling it a “towering, utterly majestic wine” that “captivates all of the senses with its stunning grace and pure pedigree”. He goes on to say it is “one of the very best vintages of this iconic Champagne I remember tasting”, and concludes “The 2004 Clos des Goisses is a must-have Champagne. It’s as simple as that.” – Justerini & Brooks
I visited Champagne Philipponnat for a private tasting in 2006 with members of the Harrogate Medical Wine Society. The images below are from that memorable visit.