FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Bruno Paillard Champagnes

by Eunice Fried

Jun 1, 2017
June 2017

COMPARED TO MANY Champagne houses that are a century and more old, Bruno Paillard is a relative newcomer. While members of the Paillard family have been growers and brokers in the Champagne region since the early 1700s, none ever made Champagne. In 1981 Bruno Paillard, at the age of 27, broke that tradition when he sold his vintage Jaguar for 50,000 francs and used the money to establish Champagne Bruno Paillard. In 2007 he set another new Paillard tradition when his daughter, Alice, then in her twenties, joined him. After working in the vineyards and cellar and studying the business side of Champagne, she is now co-director.

Today, Bruno Paillard remains one of the few family-owned Champagne houses, which means the Paillards are not beholden to investors and instead set their own standards, allowing them to concentrate on quality. They do that by giving their Champagnes more aging in the bottle. They add less dosage than most Champagne houses, thus offering fresher, drier wines. They strive for complexity. They limit production. And they choose their markets and importers with great care.

I recently tasted Bruno Paillard Champagnes with Alice and found, overall, sparklers of elegance and of excellent quality. Here are a few of them. All prices are approximate for a .750ml bottle.

Champagne Bruno Paillard Brut Première Cuvée ($50) — a blend of Champagne’s three grapes: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier — is lively with a bit of citrus fruit in the aroma, other fruits in the taste and slightly toasty.

Made 100 percent of Chardonnay from Grand Cru vineyards, Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru ($70) presents tiny bubbles and floral and citric notes. I found it fresh with a hint of warm bread, invigorating acidity and a long finish.

Champagne N.P.U. “Nec Plus Ultra” 2003 ($200) is Paillard’s ultimate Champagne. The house decided to create what it felt would be the greatest Champagne it could possibly make and only in the best vintages, regardless of cost. The result is its N.P.U., which translates as state of the art, the ultimate or the absolute best. With its exquisite elegance, it is all of that.

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