The Bank Holiday is here and following a prolonged absence the sun is out, gardenware is being dusted off and there’s a noticeable feel-good factor in the air as millions of Brits across the country prepare for a long weekend off work.
This evening cellars will undoubtedly be filled with wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Beaujolais in preparation for the main event, and what a selection there will be. Tipped by TLE as being the best wine-drinking holiday of the year you have some of the best wine-pairing foods in the book at your disposal as fresh fish, lamb and, of course, chocolate take centre stage.
But Easter in the sun is as much a celebration as it is a gastronomic treat, which is why we have something special to indulge in this week, courtesy of Maison Bruno Paillard’s latest new cuvée – “Dosage : Zéro”.
Dosage : Zéro, or D:Z is a Multi Vintage Champagne which sits alongside the three existing MVs in the Maison’s portfolio: Première Cuvée, Rosé Première Cuvée and Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, all of which are Extra Brut.
Whilst the D:Z cuvée is a natural extension to the Maison’s Multi Vintage family, the challenge of creating a Champagne without dosage from a terroir which is sometimes austere, was not undertaken lightly.
The vineyards, grapes, composition and use of reserve wines and ageing were all critical in producing a Champagne which expresses the purity of the northern climate and chalk soils, whilst giving great complexity and balance.
The use of reserve wines is key; 50 per cent is comprised of reserve wines – exceptionally high for Champagne – which includes vintages going back to 1985 in a solera-style system. Some of these reserve wines underwent their first fermentation in barrel. Some of which were kept in barrel and tank; others for more than 10 years in bottle before disgorgement, resulting in an intensified autolysis. Ageing is far longer than the legal requirement: D : Z has three to four years in bottle “sur lies”, followed by six months rest post-disgorgement, the date of which is stated on the back label.
D:Z is a première cuvée champagne, in which Meunier is in the spotlight, a variety which usually plays a supporting role in the Maison’s wines. The blend is dominated by the terroirs of the northern slopes of Montagne de Reims and – specifically for the Meunier – the first few kilometers on the right bank of the Marne Valley. Meunier accounts for the majority of the cuvée, with equal proportions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir alongside. The majority of the assemblage is vinified in small oak barrels.
It is available from Hedonism Wines, retailing at £49.80 and will also be in fine dining restaurants.