Philipponnat Royale Réserve Non-Dosé, Champagne
Score : 91/100
Essentially, this is the exact same wine as the non-vintage Royale Réserve Brut, but with total absence of dosage or added sugar at bottling. On paper, this allows to reveal the genuine expression of the non-vintage blend and the house style without the artifice and the interference of external sugar addition.
Only first-press juices are used. They come mainly from Grand and Premier Cru vineyard sites.
20% to 30% of reserve wines (from older vintages) are used in the final blend. To give those roundness and complexity without using freshness, Philipponnat ages the reserves in wooden barrels using the solera system to incorporate older wines.
So how good is this N.V. Philipponnat Royale Réserve Non-Dosé?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
Bright shiny-lemon color, with a slight mat grey/pink tone to it.
Like the Royale Reserve Brut, the nose is inviting and warmly fruity: warm lemon skin, or confit lemon shine through.
They say wine is bottled sunshine! Well this is what it smells like. Surprisingly, bottled Sicilian sun is what comes to mind (from a mental analogy with the smell of limoncello) although the Champagne region of France is quite far away from Southern Italy, and much cooler. Yet the smell of this wine is sunny and warming.
Delicate spices and nutty tones complement the aroma profile, providing depth and complexity. A savorier feel to the smell too.
Being a Non-Dosé Champagne sparkling wine (no added sugar during disgorgement or no-dosage), the wine is expectedly dry.
But surprisingly on the other hand, despite a good mineral citrusy acidity, the ine doesn’t feel acidic or aggressive by any mean. Quite the opposite in fact.
It’s smooth. Very fine bubbles, a slight oily texture, and silky phenolics round up the palate for a super-smooth caresse of your palate feel.
Flavors are layered and complex, mainly on tertiary tones: warm wax, nuts, and sweet spices. Citrus fruits character provides freshness to the flavor profile, but seem less vibrant than on the nose.
A concentrated, vibrant, very complex and long Champagne wine delivering layer after layer of delicate yet powerful notes.
This Non-Dosé version of the iconic Royale Réserve by Philipponnat gives it an even more ‘gastronomic’ edge to it. This is a Champagne for connoisseurs and for sommeliers, a wine to take your time to enjoy and analyze, ideally with subtle food, rather than on its own.
If you’re after a sophisticated and pleasing Champagne for cheering before the meal with no or little food, the Royale Reserve Brut is probably more appropriate.
But if you aim at impressing gets with a dry sophisticated Champagne that pairs with delicate entrees and providing the unspoiled-by-sugar expression of a sophisticated wine from Champagne, this Non-Dosé cuvée is definitely your best choice.