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The Bruno Paillard N.P.U.- « Nec Plus Ultra » was born from the idea to create the greatest possible Champagne wine, whatever the constraints. To do this, the most extreme choices have been made at each step of the production of this outstanding Champagne wine.
This foolish dream gave birth to the N.P.U.-“Nec Plus Ultra”.
Blend: 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir
Classification: Grand Cru
Dosage: Extra Brut <6 g/L
Only in truly great vintages….
First, an exceptional vintage is needed: after improving our “savoir faire” during the 80’s, the first ever N.P.U – Nec Plus Ultra, a 1990 vintage, was released in 2002. Four follow, each of different temperaments: the generous 1995; the eccentric 1996; and the 1999, maybe the most classic, and 2003.
First, an exceptional vintage is needed: after improving our "savoir faire" during the 80's, the first ever N.P.U - Nec Plus Ultra, a 1990 vintage, was released in 2002. Then came N.P.U. 1995 and the iconic N.P.U. 1996… After these three tremendous although quite different vintages comes N.P.U. 1999, a wine with a seemingly more classical profile…
In 1999, the summer drought stressed the vine strongly until several short but frequent rains arrived early September, which progressively brought the fruits to maturity. The 1999 harvest offered perfectly healthy grapes, allying aromatic richness with a very
interesting ageing potential. Exclusively "Grands Crus" grapes...
Out of the 320 villages in the Champagne Appellation, only 17 are rated "Grands Crus": grapes from 4 of these were selected to create N.P.U - Nec Plus Ultra 1999: Bouzy, Verzenay, Oger, Le Mesnil sur Oger. Not just born in a great vintage, the grapes also originate from the most noble crus.
In small wooden barrels....
As always at Maison Bruno Paillard, only the first pressing - the purest - was retained. But an essential characteristic of the N.P.U - Nec Plus Ultra is that the first fermentation was conducted in small wooden barriques where the wines spent their first 10 months. During this period each "Cru" developed its own personality while acquiring these slightly woody aromas which used to be found in yesterday’s wines. The following summer, in July 2000, we selected and blended the best 42 barriques (21 of chardonnay, 21 of pinot noir) of which we obtained 11 508 bottles and 508 magnums, each of them being numbered.
More than twelve years in the Cellar...
The second fermentation followed almost immediately after bottling and a long maturation started in our 10,5°C temperature controlled cellars. This bottle remained ageing this way more than 12 years, including a “convalescence” rest after its disgorgement – which date is indicated on its back label.As always at Bruno Paillard, the “dosage” is very low. For N.P.U. – Nec Plus Ultra it is reduced to a strict minimum, 4 g/L, hardly perceptible. The bottles are returned to the cellar for a year of “recovery rest” before their launch on the market.
Close your eyes... The tasting of such a wine can be a truly great moment. The bottle should be slightly refreshed, at around 10°C, certainly not ice-chilled. The wine can be enjoyed on its own, or with food (excluding deserts). This N.P.U - Nec Plus Ultra 1999 required more than 13 years of dedication to reach an outstanding result: it deserves some time to open in the glass, and express its potential. First admire the beauty of its bright deep gold colour and tiny bubbles. Close your eyes and listen to its little music. Then smell its multiple and complex aromas which slowly show through. Only after this moment, taste a little drop and let time stand still…
A difficult start to the year led to early budbreak. There were some damaging hailstorms in early May, but the frost ultimately stayed away. The summer was overall warm and thanks to the hot and dry August, the grapes looked promising for the harvest. However, a damp September challenged producers and dilution was an issue for some. The 1999 harvest that started on September 15th produced a large yield (12,989 kg/ha) of sweet grapes that resulted in soft wines, low in acidity, which produced Champagnes that, in many cases, miss linearity and structure. Voluptuous and enjoyable with ripe, fruity, even exotic characters but in most cases for the medium-term only, even if the best seem to be maturing better than initially expected. The red wines of the year were exceptional and resulted in some outstanding prestige cuvée rosés, such as Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé and Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé.