We tasted: Gosset Celebris 1998

tasting in May 2020, Madrid, Spain

We already know that Ruinart is the oldest champagne house, but which one is the oldest house in Champagne? I know the question may be tricky at first glance, but it’s totally correct. When we’re talking about champagne we refer to the wine denomination while when talking about Champagne, with capital letter, we refer to the region in France. While Ruinart is the oldest champagne house, Gosset is the oldest wine producer in Champagne. It dates back to the sixteen century (1584) when Pierre Gosset, alderman of Aÿ and wine-grower, decided to make still wines, mostly red, with the grapes he harvested from his own vines. In those days, two wines were the jewels of the banquets of kings of France: the wine of Aÿ and, from several hundreds of leagues further south, the wines of Beaune. Both were made from the same grape varieties — Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Until the 18th century the climate in Champagne made possible to actually produce still wines. Then, with the slight warming up of the region, the wines have started more often to experience the second fermentation, and it’s the moment when bubbly wines were created.

It was around 1760 when Jean Gosset used what would become the symbol of the Gosset house for the first time: the antique bottle. This extremely elegant, distinctive bottle, with well-rounded sides, is an exclusive model that was part of the family’s old bottles collection. It owes its nickname to the colour “antique glass” given to the molten glass that is part of its composition. At the end of the 17th Century, the champagne houses used special types of reinforced bottles: first, black apple-shaped bottles made of thick glass, then tougher pear-shaped bottles, both produced by glass manufacturers in Northern France and the Argonne. The actual shape of Gosset bottles is a replica of the antique glass and pear-shaped bottle (available in half-bottles, bottles, magnums and jeroboams).

Gosset’s wines are characterised by their purity and expressiveness. Grapes come mainly from premier and grand cru vineyards surrounding Epernay and their winemaking style is characterised by minimal intervention, extended ageing and no malolactic fermentation. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the house’s main focus.

Since 1993 Gosset has been owned by the Renaud Cointreau family who have sought to protect the quality and character of their wines. This has led them to keep production levels moderate and to respect the history of the house along with the integrity of the region and its vineyards.

Extremely rare, the limited edition (issued only on 3 to 4 thousand bottles) Celebris is the most prestigious cuvée of the Gosset house. Celebris is an elegant and sophisticated wine with an underlying power that makes it ideal for long ageing, which is when the true complexity of the wine develops. When tasting the 1998 cuvée we were immediately fascinated by its vinosity and roundness in mouth. On the nose you get marvelled by hints of candied peaches, citrus, almonds, honey, sweet spices, and yeasts. On the palate it feels round, full, rich, elegant with perfect balanced saline minerality and acidity. Invading flavours of peaches, pears, mature pineapple, macadamia nuts, honey, chalk, biscuits, and some white mushrooms. Fine elegant bubbles and spicy vinous long aftertaste. This is a cuvée that we would love to taste in 5-10 years to see how it evolved. A true gem for champagne lovers.

CLB score

95

*take a look at our CLB scoring

Type of champagneExtra Brut
Vintage1998
Grapes36% Pinot Noir, 64% Chardonnay
MaisonGosset
Village/terroirChouilly, Cramant (Chardonnay), Aÿ, Bouzy, Verzy (Pinot Noir)
DegorgementOctober 2009
Agedon lees for 10 years
DosageExtra Brut (3.5g/L)
Sizebottle (75cl)
Number of bottles3-4000
Price range (euro)185-200
Chef de CavesJean-Pierre Mareigner (1983-2016), Odilon de Varine (>2016)
Other considerentsno malolactic fermentation

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