Clos des Goisses
The noise surrounding single vineyard Champagnes has never been louder – a trend driven initially (and seemingly paradoxically) by the larger houses, then more recently by the growers. One of the original single vineyard sites, if not actually the first (that honour goes to Clos du Mesnil, originally a grower parcel before its acquisition by the house of Krug), was Clos des Goisses, the jewel in the impressive Philipponnat stable and one of Champagne’s very finest vineyards. The first known vintage of this great site was 1935, and in the intervening years this special plot has become known for producing powerful and long lived champagnes that possess a unique combination of ripeness and structure.
The first question of any single vineyard is whether the production is consistently good enough, or better, than what might be achieved through blending. Not all vineyards have the magic touch that Goisses possesses. That it is a special vineyard is in no doubt. As Tom Stevenson reported in World of Fine Wine issue 49 - “In my experience of watching how individual vineyards perform over 35 vintages, the two that stand out in this respect are Clos des Goisses and Clos du Mesnil, but for completely different reasons. It is the unique topography of Clos des Goisses (which always allows some parcels to excel) – in conjunction with its high active lime content (30 percent compared to 25 percent throughout the rest of Mareuil-sur-Ay) and significantly warmer microclimate (2.7 ° F higher mean temperature during the growing season) – that endows this vineyard with the intrinsic ability to produce something special”
The 2006 vintage from Clos des Goisses has now bowled us over on two tasting occasions. The impressively steep, south facing aspect of the Goisses vineyard, that leads down to the River Marne (one reason for such consistent ripeness) has produced a wine of considerable concentration and length, fabulously ripe fruit and the structure and tension for extended cellaring. It is as good as anything we’ve tasted from the 2006 vintage, and likely to get a whole lot better with some years in bottle. The vital statistics are as follows: 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 4.5 g/l of dosage, disgorged May 2015 after 8 years sur lie.