Monday, 4 April 2011

Bruno Paillard Profile

Bruno Paillard is the youngest of the grande maisons, having only been founded in 1981 by, you guessed it, Bruno Paillard at the tender age of 27. By having a philosophy of quality and purity, this champagne house has grown in stature to a point where it now commands as much respect as many of its fellow grande maisons. There is good reason for this. Bruno Paillard has a strict chart to control the quality of all its Champagnes:
  • Only the top grapes from the vintage are used, the rest are declassified and sold on,
  • Only the first pressings, or premiere cuvee, go into the final champagnes,
  • Bottle ageing for up to 2-3 times longer than regulations require,
  • Lower dosage, 6-7g depending on the blend, to respect the purity of the wine.

Bruno Paillard was the first house, in a growing trend, to state the disgorgement date on the back label. This gives the consumer better control over when in the wine's stage of development they want to drink it. Currently, it has six different champagnes. A Brut Premiere Cuvee , Rose Premiere Cuvee, Blanc de Blanc Reserve Privee, Vintage Blanc de Blanc, Vintage Brut and their Prestige Cuvee Nec Plus Ultra (the last word). I tasted the following from their range at the London Annual Champagne tasting:

Brut Premiere Cuvee - this has a citrus-dominated nose full of sour grapefruit and lemons. On the palate there is an initial acidity hit, which gives way to a melange of fruits, including grapefruit, red current and cherry. There is also a defined minerality and mouth-filling mousse, leading to a dry finish. This is a food-friendly style which would be great with fruit de mer and a number of fish dishes. 

Blanc de Blanc 1999 - This is a stellar wine from the initial hit to the finish. This vintage was particularly warm, being about 1 -1.5 degrees warmer than average, and it is apparent in this offering. It has fairly low acidity but still maintains a great balance. The palate is honeyed and has great minerality and Alice Paillard, Bruno's youngest daughter, describes this vintage as "vivacious," which i think is spot on. Interestingly, all Bruno Paillard vintage champagnes have specially commissioned artwork on the front label and the 1999 is still being worked on as I write this. This is genuinely one of the best champagnes I have had and is well worth its £55-60 price tag. Dig it out for a special occasion. It's worth noting, that even though this is drinking well now it will continue to develop for 10 years.

Rose Premiere Cuvee - A Pinot Noir dominant blend with just a touch of Chardonnay. It has a pretty, coppery colour with a nose of fresh summer fruits including strawberries and floral notes. The palate is packed with ripe, red fruits but is incredibly delicate. This is proof that Pinot Noir based champagnes don't all have to be rich and dense.

If you are going to try something new this month I cannot recommend Bruno Paillard enough.

Available to buy though Bibendum Wine, Laithwaites and Slurp Wine

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