After working for his father’s grape broking company for six years, Bruno Paillard started his own champagne house in 1981. An independent, family-owned business, Maison Bruno Paillard’s vineyards currently cover 34 hectares across 17 crus, altogether representing over 100 plots – each with a different terroir. Alone, the Maison’s own vineyards account for almost 70 percent of the grapes required for production.
According to the winery’s website, a great champagne is “an “assemblage”, blending: of diverse crus, grape varieties and vintages. It is about the constant desire to capture the quintessential finesse and elegance which champagne can bring when it is served with love and care.”
In 1983 Bruno Paillard became the first champagne house to print the disgorgement date on every bottle of champagne produced. Beyond printing the date on the back of each bottle, Bruno Paillard’s champagne is also aged for far longer than the minimum required by appellation law, crafting only extra brut champagnes, using a minimum of extra sugar to enhance freshness.
Once the grapes are harvested, only the juice from the first pressing is used (the first 50cl yielded by each kilogram). In the modern winery, the must is then divided between tanks or barrels according to origin, variety and particular parcel, with alcoholic fermentation occurring in open tanks or small oak barrels.
Comprised of first pressing Crand Cru Chardonnay grapes, exclusives from the Côtes de Blancs, the Blancs de Blancs endures a ‘Demi Mousse’ fermentation process. The still wine is decanted for its second fermentation, taking place in the bottle. Less sugar and yeast is added than typical, resulting in a less powerful bottle fermentation, producing a lower pressure. This process enhances the finesse of the Chardonnay. The wines are then disgorged using a modern technique, in which the neck of each bottle – and its sediment – are frozen at -25C, allowing for easy sediment extraction, limiting the loss of wine. Paillard refers to this process as “open heart surgery”. The Blancs de Blancs is then aged for a minimum of six months maturation in the cellar, post disgorgement. Just five grams of additional sugar are added per litre.
The result (based on tasting a bottle disgorged in January 2018) is a golden champagne with hints of green, vaunting fine carbonation less effervescent than typical. Prominent citrus aromas of grapefruit, lemon and lime rind are joined by some white flowers, light toast, white peach, and feint almond. On the palate, Champagne Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs is lively and bright with further nuances of citrus zest, trace pear, peach, marzipan and intense minerality. With an impressively rich mouth-feel, the champagne has a long, fresh finish with creamy effervescence, clean acidity, and notes of marzipan alongside further citrus savours. An exceptionally elegant champagne.