This Champagne house bears a striking resemblance to the great Krug, believes Harry Eyres
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.justerinis.com) has lovely purity and crispness. It’s also available in a Non Dosé version (£27; www.frw. co.uk), which works beautifully with even more crisp definition. Philipponnat Cuvée 1522 2007 (£47.11 excluding VAT; www.juster inis.com) has positive golden colour and mature complexity. As for Clos des Goisses itself, the 2007 (£92.15 excluding VAT; www.justerinis.com) 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.