Bruno Paillard Vintage Champagnes

We tried 5 different champagnes in the Bruno Paillard masterclass held at the just opened Bluebird Wine shop. I’ve blogged previously about their non-vintage champagnes, now it’s the turn of the vintage champagnes to go through the wringer. The house only releases vintage champagnes in what they consider exceptional years, of which there are two labels. The first one was the Bruno Paillard Brut Assemblage 1999. All the Assemblages spend 9 years on the lees before disgorgement and all the grapes come from a single vintage only. Another unique characteristic of the Assemblage is the label. Each vintage has an individually designed label by a modern artist. The house picks two words to describe the champagne and then asks the artist to create a label that reflects the words. The French artist Didier Paquignon was asked to do the ’99 label. The two words picked to describe the ’99 were tumultuous and warm. This champagne was certainly a bigger and fuller bodied champagne then the previous NV examples. It was a rich yellow in colour with a complex nose of biscuit, brioche, and butter with underlying fruit aromas of figs and apricots all rolling around together in the glass. I suppose you could say it was a bit tumultuous with various aromas vying for attention. On the palate it followed through with toast, butter, cream, and the full rich flavours of ripe apricots and a figgy caramel note with a lingering finish. The bubbles were fine and delicate. The last was the Bruno Paillard Nec Plus Ultra 1995. The origins of  this champagne came about because of two British journalists who asked Bruno why didn’t he produce a single cuvee? And so the idea for the N.P.U was born. So far there have only been 2 NPU, the ’90 and the ’95 vintages. There are very strict criteria and only 9,000 bottles are produced. All the grapes must come from grand cru vineyards and must be from truly outstanding vintages. The grapes are pressed...

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Bruno Paillard Champagne (NV)

I attended a masterclass the other day at a new wine shop that has recently opened within the Bluebird Cafe/Restaurant complex. Bluebird, on the King’s Road in Chelsea, has been around for about 10 years but has recently undergone renovations and has now had an epicerie and wineshop added to the premises. Bruno Paillard is a small, young champagne house that has only been producing since the early 1980’s. To start a champagne house in the last 20th century was considered  madness by the Champenois but through hardwork, perservence, a dedication to selecting only the best grapes from independent growers and strict controls on the winemaking process, he has managed to produce some truly amazing, fine, delicate champagne. The house trademark of all their champagnes is low dosage (whereby bottles are topped up with sweetened  wine after the second fermentation – read more here. ) Most brut champagne has a dosage of around 12 grams per liter, Paillard champagnes have an average of 6-8 grams per liter. The philosophy behind this is to produce wines that highlight the freshness of the wines, while at the same time allowing the purity and balance of the champagne come through. The first champagne was their Premier Cuvee Brut NV (8gr/lt). The house only uses the first pressings for all of their wines to ensure that only the purest juice is used. This sample was a blend of Chardonnay, P.Noir and P.Meunier. A pale yellow in colour with tiny bubbles spiraling up the glass. Zesty and light, citrusy-floral nose with hints of orange blossoms. Clean, fresh and with a youthful appeal but not bitter as some young champagnes can be, lemon-lime flavours on the palate with a long finish. This was a definite palate cleanser but not astringent or acidic, very well balanced. (retail £33) We then moved onto the Blanc de Blanc Reserve Privee Grand Cru (6g/ltr). This champagne had spent 4 years on its lees and that was definitely evident on the nose as well as...

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