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Clos des Goisses goes to vintage extremes

Among the latest Champagne houses to confirm that it will be launching a vintage from the famously ripe 2003 harvest is Philipponnat for its Clos des Goisses, although more controversial is the suggestion it may bring to market a 2001 from this renowned 5.5 hectare plot – a year that was only made remarkable by the rain and cold weather during September.

fwot-closdesgoisses.jpgSpeaking to the drinks business earlier this year, Charles Philipponnat said: “We are now on 2000 [for Clos des Goisses] and there will be a 2003, but at the opposite end we also have a 2001.”

Alluding to the ability of this steeply-sloping south facing vineyard’s abiity to ripen grapes in all but the very worst years, Philipponnat admitted that the house always makes a vintage from the clos, even if it’s not released onto the market.

In 2001, damp conditions during September and resulting rot ensured the production from Clos des Goisses was almost halved from an average of 15,000 bottles to under 8,000, and Philipponnat admitted that he hasn’t decided what to do with the wine. “We could hold it back for late release,” he said, adding, “It’s not a matter of finances but one of image and reputation – the problem is not with the wine but the reputation of the vintage.”

Commenting on the 2003, a year of extremes, and famed for the ripeness of the vintage, he justified his decision to plan the release of the Champagne saying, “Some of the great vintages of the past were extremely ripe and there is a misconception that wines only age well if there is high acidity.

“But if the wine is aromatically balanced already then it does not need to be very acid to age,” citing 1964, which he recalled “was not very high in acid and it’s considered one of the best vintages.”

He also said that volumes of Clos de Goisses 2003 would be small due to the springtime frosts while noting that the house had to pick very early to retain balance in the wine.

Furthermore, Philipponnat told db that from now on the house would be ploughing Clos des Goisses using horses to avoid spraying any herbicides on the vertiginous vineyard.

Meanwhile, for those looking to sample a 2001, he pointed out that Vilmart released its Coeur de Cuvée Champagne from this vintage.

Patrick Schmitt, 10.02.2011

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