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 the palate. A fine yellow with flecks of green and pretty petite bubbles that bounced around my mouth. Aromas of brioche and a bit toasty with hints of apple and lemon. Those same characteristics followed thru on the palate as well as some grapefruit showing up towards the end. Most of the grapes used were from the '03 vintage, 100% chardonnay.
The last NV we sampled was the Brut Rosé. This was a lovely pale, almost aged onion-skin paper colour verging on a pale salmon hue. It was such a beautiful colour, I almost didn't want to drink it but drink it I did and what a terrific rosé it is! First up were floral notes with hints of red plums and raspberries on the nose and persistent tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass. On drinking it, I found a rather delicate rosé but full of flavour - raspberries, red apple, plum and toffee apple on the finish. A very well structured, light and winsome rosé, unlike other rosé champagnes that too often can be heavy and cloying. This has proved a rather successful rosé for the house, consisting of 8% of their production. (£43 retail)
Next up the Vintage stuff....