Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut, Champagne, France
Score : 91/100
The Royale Réserve Brut is the entry-level non-vintage cuvée by the Champagne house Philipponat, their best-selling wine.
It is a blend of 65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier. Only the first press juices are used (tailles and presses are disregarded). Grapes come mainly (2/3) from Grand and Premier Crus areas in the heart of the Champagne wine-growing region.
It contains about 30% of reserve wines that are aged in wooden barrels using the solera system to incorporate older wines without losing freshness.
Malolactic fermentation is partial, batch-based.
The tasted bottle has a base of 2011 vintage, and was disgorged in October 2011, with about 8 grams per litre of dosage sugar.
So how good is this N.V. Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut Champagne?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
Bright shiny lemon color, with a slight mat grey/pink tone to it.
The nose is very intense and inviting, fresh and zesty. It’s dominated by aromas of lemon, the juice and the peel, and grapefruit. It really smells like a fresh and complex citrus fruit.
Add to the fruit aromas some delicate spicy and nutty notes on the background: subtle sweet spices sweet spices and hazelnut. The whole feels powerful, warmly inviting yet refined.
There’s a feeling of heat, and sun coming out of the wine discretely in the shade of all other scents, that is rather unusual but comforting: hot candle, hot leather car seats on a sunny day. Hard to point out the exact smell. It’s there adds a lot of personality to this Champagne.
The palate feels quite dry, but rich from the presence of the wine in your mouth. Intense flavors, quite an oily texture. It fills your palate with affirmed sensations. Plenty of spices, and fragrant almost exuberant citrus flavors bring sun to your senses.
Fine delicate bubbles lighten the experience, driving tension and providing minerality.
Very long finish on nutty and leesy notes.
An intense, concentrated, and ripe Champagne wine that delivers tons of sensations and layers. It’s fresh, zesty, and citrusy making it approachable and easy to enjoy. But there’s an absolute perceptible depth and a great complexity from carefully-grown ripe fruit and skillful winemaking.