I have done a bunch of wine interviews over the years, in English and Italian (just once for now), with Japanese subtitles.I already published some of them, but they are all scattered so I decided to repost all of them again, once a week, to have everything in one place and chronologically ordered.
It all began with my old employer in Kobe, which has an online shop only for Champagne wine. I started by doing some tasting reviews in 2014 (Jacquesson 737 was the first bottle, I still have the cork) and then we thought that it could be fun to interview producers coming to our place to show us their wines.
Number one is Charles Philipponnat, maybe my favorite Champagne producer, a very funny guy and fluent in Italian (probably also because Italy is Philipponnat first export market). Enjoy!
PS: reposting this videos I am also writing down the interviews in the post. They are very lightly edited to make them more readable.
What is the style of Philipponnat?
The style is very important and all of our wines are made in the same fashion, with the same objective, although they are different.
The idea is to make wines that have some intensity of taste, some aromatic richness, but also with a lot of purity, freshness and crispness. So in way there is a combination of fruit, from the ripeness of the grape, from the origin of the grape and some cleanliness, some purity in the winemaking, avoiding always oxidation, always trying to have a fresh feeling of acidity in the wines.
What can you tell me about the Philipponat red Coteaux Champenois?
The Coteaux Champenois is a still red wine that we make from Champagne vineyards. This one is made from our best vineyard, it’s from one little part of the Clos de Goisses where there is a bit more clay, so it is a bit more proper to make red wine.
Every year we make red wine and rosé wine for our rosé Champagne and when the year is very favourable we put aside some of the red wine that we have concentrated by bleeding the vat. Then we age it in large casks for two years. This is a 2012 Coteaux Champenois that has been bottle only last year [2015 at the time of the interview – ed.].
What food would you pair with it?
A red like this, which is light but has some concentration and good color, could be used like a good Côte de Beaune, a good Burgundy. You could pair with feathered game, like pheasant or quail.
What are the most promising unreleased vintages? [again, as of 2016, when the interview was shot – ed.]
Well, in recent years I think that one of the best vintages was 2008, of which we have already released the Blanc de Noirs, while Clos de Goisses will come later. Another good vintage is the one we are tasting now as Coteaux Champenois, 2012, very good and even more concentrated. 2008 is very good and has a good crisp acidity, while the 2012 has more power and more fruit.
After 2012 probably the last harvest, 2015, will be very very good, although it is very very early to assess it. It was ripe, it had a very good acidity and summer was very very dry, so there was also some soft tannins that are adding an extra dimension to the wine. This is something that we haven’t seen in quite a few years or even decades. Some people say that it is like 1959 or even 1947, but it is quite an exceptional vintage. Anyway we have to wait, you cannot decide before you start tasting (laughs)
What Philipponnat Champagne do you drink when you relax and what you drink when you celebrate?
When I want to relax I pick the Champagne that my wife wants (laughs). She likes the cuvée 1522 rosé, that’s what she prefers. So when we want to relax together we have a rosé 1522 and when I want to celebrate Clos de Goisses of course.