This Cham­pagne house bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to the great Krug, be­lieves Harry Eyres

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

A name per­haps only fa­mil­iar to the cognoscenti, the Cham­pagne house of Philip­pon­nat has sev­eral sim­i­lar­i­ties with Krug, ar­guably the great­est of all houses. Both are headed by mem­bers of the fam­ily, al­though no longer in fam­ily own­er­ship. Krug is part of the LVMH group, but the ir­re­press­ible Olivier Krug plays a tire­less am­bas­sado­rial role. Philip­pon­nat was bought by the Lan­son-bcc group in 1997, but, soon af­ter­wards, Charles Philip­pon­nat took charge at the house bear­ing his fam­ily name and he’s brought it to greater promi­nence. Krug owns Clos du Mes­nil, per­haps the great­est Chardon­nay vine­yard in the re­gion, and Philip­pon­nat has the steep Clos des Goisses, planted two-thirds to Pinot Noir and no less out­stand­ing.

Why you should be drink­ing it

Both Krug and Philip­pon­nat use a pre­pon­der­ance of Pinot over Chardon­nay grapes and both em­ploy bar­rel fer­men­ta­tion. How­ever, af­ter that, the dif­fer­ences be­tween the two be­come more strik­ing than the sim­i­lar­i­ties.

What to drink

Where Krug Grande Cu­vée has a sym­phonic rich­ness, the Philip­pon­nat wines are tighter and more lin­ear, show­ing Pinot Noir firm­ness, but also great fi­nesse. Philip­pon­nat Royale Réserve Brut (be­low, £165 for six; www.jus­teri­ has lovely pu­rity and crisp­ness. It’s also avail­able in a Non Dosé ver­sion (£27; www.frw., which works beau­ti­fully with even more crisp def­i­ni­tion. Philip­pon­nat Cu­vée 1522 2007 (£47.11 ex­clud­ing VAT; www.juster has pos­i­tive golden colour and ma­ture com­plex­ity. As for Clos des Goisses it­self, the 2007 (£92.15 ex­clud­ing VAT; www.jus­teri­ has golden colour and a haunt­ing, wine-like nose—more like a fine Bur­gundy than a Cham­pagne. It com­bines pre­cise lin­ear­ity with rich­ness as only great wines can do.

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