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News

June 2013 in Champagne: awaiting the summer and the flower...17-06-2013

 

 

A very cool spring caused a late and slow vegetal develop. Luckily the cool temperatures did not alterate the vineyards and we had no spring frosts. The next step is the flowering which we expect within the next few days! Here is a picture of our Chardonnays in Cumieres showing an important quantity of future grapes.

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History

Bruno Paillard was born in Reims in 1953. His lineage of brokers and growers in the two Grands Crus villages of Bouzy and Verzenay dates back to 1704. Following in the family’s foot steps, he starts working as a broker in 1975 acquiring a deep and extensive knowledgeof Champagne. But after 6 years, he is taken by the overwhelming desire to create a different Champagne: one that would go beyond what existed in terms of purity and elegance.

 

We are in January 1981, Bruno Paillard is 27 years old, and with nothing but his will – no vineyards, no money – he sells his old Jaguar that had become a collector item to provide his company with a starting capital of 50 000 francs (15 000 Euros). Madness! Nonsense! In a region that hasn’t seen a new house in nearly a century, the mood is rather conservative. But nothing can stop the dream of this pioneer of Champagne. Bruno Paillard creates his Champagnes in a rented cellar with carefully selected grapes from independent growers. After 3 years of working like an alchemist, improving his know how, he finally reaches the style of his dreams.

 

In 1984, Bruno Paillard invents the first totally “ground level” cellar. This brand new concept allows an extremely strict control of temperatures, lighting and humidity. And soon, the very personal style of his wines seduces. Bruno Paillard Champagnes are first recognized by the English Press as some of the best wines of the region. In 1988, the famous critic Hugh Johnson defines the house as “A Small but Prestigious Young ChampagneHouse With Excellent Silky Vintages and Non Vintages!” In 1990, Bruno Paillard draws the current winery with his architect Jacques Bléhaut: a state of the art structure with stainless steel, glass and wood symbolizing the 3 noble vessels of Champagne.

Revolutionary, this new cellar combines the traditional know how with the newest qualitative techniques.

 

In 1994, Bruno Paillard purchases his first vineyard: 3 hectares in Oger, a beautiful Grand Cru of the Côte des Blancs. Now, the vineyards of the house cover 32 hectares – half of the production needs – including 12 hectares of Grand Crus : Oger, Le Mesnil, Bouzy,Verzenay. The remaining half are today still purchased to the same independent growers families since the early 80’s. In January 2007 his daughter Alice, one of four children, decided to join and continue the BP family adventure. Starting in the vineyards and then in the cellar for the first year, following with export development, Alice is now a shareholder and co manages the House withher father.

 

Today Bruno Paillard Champagne produces 4 to 500 000 bottles a year and export 75% of this wines through 40 different countries – mostly to Europe, Asia and Northern America. Wherever they are represented, the Champagnes of Bruno Paillard are exclusively sold through traditional outlets such as restaurants and fine wine stores. This selective distribution is a guarantee of quality for the client thanks to the good care of sommeliers and fine wine merchants.

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Vineyards

Bruno Paillard’s vineyards cover 32 hectares (79,5 acres) of land over the best Crus of Champagne:

  • Oger, le Mesnil, Vertus, Etoges for Chardonnays, (36,5%)
  • Bouzy, Ambonnay, Verzy, Verzenay, les Riceys for Pinots noirs, (40,5%)-
  • Hautvillers, Cumières, Damery, Reuil, Venteuil, Festigny, for Pinot Meuniers. (23,4%)

12 hectares of the vineyards (45%) are classified as “Grand Cru” which is remarkable knowing that less than 6% of all Champagne villages are Grand Cru.

 

Respect of this fantastic terroir is a priority of the house. Vineyard manager, Mathieu Pingret, applies a sustainable viticulture according to the highly qualitative expectations of the Bruno Paillard Champagnes. It requires a rigorous and delicate care because the vineyards are subdivided in near 70 different parcels:

Depending on each terroir and orientation, grounds are either ploughed or planted with specific types of weed (still plough under each foot of vine), in order to avoid any chemical weed killers. Furthermore, ploughing requires the vine to reach deeply into the chalk todraw its minerality.

 

Thanks to frequent subsoil analysis, an adapted organic fertilizing policy is followed each year on each parcel, led by the goal to little by little bring each parcel to its natural balance. Harvest is manual of course as mandatory in Champagne, in small individual cases of 45 to maximum 50kg, and the dates are chosen for each parcel individually.

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Winemaking

Bruno Paillard vineyards cover 32 hectares including 12 hectares of “Grands Crus”. It provides half of the house’s needs of grapes. The remaining half are today still purchased to the same independent growers families since the early 80’s. This remarkable supply over 35 different terroirs within the heart of Champagne provides the house with a rich palette of grapes necessary to elaborate the best blends.

 

The grapes are crushed in the closest press house to the vineyard and the must is transported to the cuverie (winery) in Reims where 96 from tiny to larger stainless steel tanks and 400 barrels await. Only the juice from the first pressing is used. In the cuverie, the must is divided between tanks or barrels respecting their origins, grape varieties and even particular parcels. Alcoholic fermentation occurs in open tanks, except for some specific vineyards that are vinified in small oak barrels.

 

Then, the malolactic transformation is allowed to happen naturally.

In fact, the acidity level of Bruno Paillard Champagnes is higher on average than others as only the first pressing is kept, as we use a high proportion of chardonnay and grapes from the best growths. The malolactic transformation enables a natural reduction of this acidity and to create pure, elegant and unaltered wines. It also avoids the use of violent techniques to mask acidity like micro filtration, over sulphuring or a “heavy dosage” during disgorgement.

 

After the fermentation in tanks, the wines declared “vins clairs”. They are still wines. Besides the characteristics of their grapes varieties, each one of these wines holds the personality of a vineyard or an individual parcel of the Champagne Area. This is the scale on witch Bruno Paillard plays and orchestrate each cuvée.

Between January and Easter, the main activity is the preparation of the blends. Bruno Paillard regularly tastes the 250 Vins Clairs born from the first fermentation. After many tastings, they select the wines that will compose each Cuvée of the Bruno Paillard Champagnes. Bruno Paillard Multi Vintage (MV) Champagnes: Brut Première Cuvée, Brut Rosé Première Cuvée and Blanc de Blancs Résèrve Privée Grand Cru must counterbalance the vintage and keep a consistent style; The Champagne Climate being specially fickle from one year toanother, the secret of style consistency lies in the “Reserved Wines”.

 

For MV Champagnes, the blend includes 20 to 50% of reserve wines depending on the needs of the year. Those Reserved Wines are kept in tanks and small oak barrels. They are wines already blended from the year before (themselves including 20 to 50% of ReservedWines from the previous year… etc and dating back to 1985!)

On the other hand, Bruno Paillard Vintage Champagnes express the quintessence of one specific year. Bruno Paillard elaborates a different blend for each vintage, concentrating on the personality of each harvest any specific vintage could create a “Blanc de Noirs” (PinotNoir only), or a “Blanc de Blancs” (Chardonnay only), or a “Assemblage Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.”

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Inside information

Bruno PAILLARD, has always been very keen to show that “well born” and “well raised” champagnes could age wonderfully.

Since 1985 the house has indicated the disgorgement** date of the wines on every single bottle. Wine amateurs know that after this process of disgorgement the evolution of the wine changes in style to go through 5 or 6 different “ages” more or less complementary,leading to again in complexity: firstly fruit dominated, then by flowers, spices, toasted aromas, and finally candied fruit and roasted notes.

 

For the first time wine amateurs will be able to taste this evolution with the creation of two exclusive cases available in very limited quantities: the first case containing a bottle of Brut Première Cuvée disgorged 6 months previously, one bottle disgorged three yearspreviously and one bottle disgorged six years previously; the second case containing five bottles in total, also including one eight years old disgorgement and one ten years old disgorgement – intervals in time which although relatively small, will still allow the taster a unique and exciting insight into the subject.

A few words of advice:

Use a tulip shaped tasting glass. Serve at a cold but not chilled temperature (9-10°C). the tasting order should follow from the most recent to the oldest disgorgement date, clearly indicated on the back label. This case will allow for a tasting group of up to 12 people. Keep aseparate glass with a sample from each bottle to gauge the development of the wine, making sure they are kept in the correct tasting order.

 

(* Pocket Wine Guide, Hugh Johnson)

(** Dégorgement : operation which consists – after several years of ageing – in extracting the sediment which was formed during the bottle fermentation. At this stage,

the “dosage” is added and the final cork is sealed.)

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13 different wines with 36 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  4 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  198 wines 

Wow, the 100 Best Champagnes ranking for 2021 is launched. It was such a pleasure to be part of the tasting panel and experience the great overall quality of all the champagnes. Such a superb line-up from prestige champagnes to non-vintages from Grands Maisons to growers and coops. Where there any surprises? Hell yes, check out the rankings and you'll see!

11m 7d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 5th day of Champagne Magazines annual The 100-Best Champagnes of the year 2020 -tasting!

1y 11d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  47 wines 

Domaine Etienne Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru 2017
Incredible intensity and depth in this Montrachet in 2017. Focused, complex with layers of toasted nuts, white flowers and lots of minerals. Wonderful example of this grand cru vineyard. The wine stands out as clearly the most complex and intense from Sauzet. From 50-60 year old vines; only 4 barrels made.


99 points

1y 29d ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  50 wines 

Champagne Magazine's 100 Best Champagnes 2021 -tasting day II.

1y 1m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  72 wines 

Champagne Magazines 100 Best Champagnes 2020 -tasting day III.

1y 9m ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  7 wines 

Cristal 2008 / 100 points / Tight, hugely promising nose still with restraint. There is immaculat purity and radiance to the chalk and toast nuanced nose full of cool, crisp fruit and baking spices complexity. A lovely feather light feeling yet fruit packed palate of fabulous electric vivacity. The finish is so long and mineral with a chalky bite promising great longevity. A wine that puts a big smile on my face.

2y 6m ago

 Richard Juhlin , Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  24 wines 

A large 1990's Champagnes tasting / Dom Pérignon P2 1995 / Lights are so beautiful with an iridescent color, crackling mousse and a dense hazy mature taste of high class. Almost P3 mode.
Here is a wine that has always been elegant and extremely enjoyable. However, the intensity and depth have been screwed up another notch in this nice extra-stored edition.

2y 9m ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson / rare-Wine.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  16 wines 

Tasting the finest Champagnes from 1990's decade!

2y 11m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Rinaldi Barolo 2007 / Served blind. Bright ruby with sediments. Scented, tar and roses, rich nose, tea, anise, leather and cherries nose. Fresh and high acidity, high of ripe tannins, fruity and lively, intense, cherries and red berries, little bit high alcohol making it a bit sweet, long. 90p

4y 6m ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  58 wines 

“Astonishing tasting of the best champagne of the decade '90s. So great champagnes in perfect condition to be enjoyed today but which hold extremely well decades to come! It was a tight battle of the 1st place. On my rankings there were two winners - Dom Pérignon P2 1995 and Cristal 1996. Both were amazing 98 points champagnes! The biggest surprises were Besserat de Bellefon 1998 and once again Palmer&Co champagnes with their charming quality and consistency.”

5y 2m ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  20 wines 

“The Champagne of the Decade 1990's tasting - part I.”

5y 3m ago

 Rytis Jurkenas / Champagne Expert, Pro (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bruno Paillard . In a tasting of  20 wines 

“Dream Sunday is over! 46 Champagnes of the decade 1990-1999 have been tasted together with another 20+ wines!”

5y 3m ago

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