Philipponnat’s 1522 bottlings from 2008 & 2009

Philipponnat’s 1522 bottlings from 2008 & 2009
When Charles Philipponnat’s father René was making legendary wines as chef de cave at Dom Perignon he used to swear by a secret recipe. “If you want to make the best blend in Champagne” René would whisper, “you need Pinot Noir from Ay, Chardonnay from Cramant and a lighter Pinot Noir from the north of the Montagne de Reims."

Today’s 1522 cuvees represent something of an homage to that recipe. They are produced from many of the house’s most remarkable plots, vinified in a mixture of oak barrels and stainless steel. Positioned just below the maison’s flagship Clos des Goisses, they nevertheless represent serious prestige cuvees in their own right. The core of the blend and the stylistic heart of every bottle of 1522 is the Le Leon vineyard in the heart of Ay. This historic plot is one of the great sites in Ay, said to have been in the family since 1522. The soils here are exceptionally chalky and provide Pinot Noir grapes with complex mineral profiles and a signature spiciness. They bring a level of sophistication to the blend that is the hallmark of a great 1522 bottling. Added to this is a highly mineral component from the Cote de Blancs, good for salinity and drive, while plots from the northern Montagne de Reims vineyards bring detail and wonderful cool aromatics. The Rosé sees the addition of 10% still red produced from a plot called Valofroy situated at the very top of Clos des Goisses, the same source as used in Clos des Goisses Juste Rosé.

Both of these cuvees see over 9 years sur lie before disgorgement at 4.5 grams per litre. Their guiding principles are the three tenets of balance, purity and subtly, far more than great power or richness. For an example of the beauty of blending, as Rene Philipponnat so clearly understood, they are shining examples of their type.

1522 Extra Brut Grand Cru 2009
An aromatic, subtle, yet spicy bottling of this very fine cuvee that has picked up a complex array of flavours over the past 9 years spent sur lie. Bergamot and other citrus oils, violets, hazlenuts, butter and white flowers, then a slick of white currants, warm spice, and so much silky golden fruit. The mousse is textured, caressing, with a lovely supporting bead. A blend of 69% Pinot Noir and 31% Chardonnay, disgorged in March 2019 after 9 years on the lees with a dosage of 4.5g per litre. Just 9777 bottles produced.

1522 Rose 2008
Wonderful red fruits combine with chalky minerality and notes of rose and Szechuan peppercorn in this finely etched Pinot that grows in the glass and flows across the palate in a linear progression of highly pixelated flavours. This is tightly packed, full of verve as it drops beautiful red fruits and citrus across the palate. The spice is wrapped up in fine minerality for the time being, but this will almost certainly blossom. Grown up stuff. A blend of 72% Pinot Noir, 38% Chardonnay disgorged in March 2019 after 10 years on the lees with a dosage of 4.5g per litre. Just 5212 bottles produced.