Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Extra Brut Champagne NV

Medium gold color; citrus, lemon, pear, hazelnut, brioche on the nose; lemon-lime, white peach, apple, toast, almond on the palate.

Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Extra Brut Champagne

Extra Brut; nimble body-texture; medium weight. Very nice balance; fruity, fresh; excellent acidity and crispness. Lively, persistent bubbles. Grapes sourced from 89 parcels from 30 vineyards. Bruno Paillard owns 60% of the source vineyards, a company policy to get variety in their NV efforts. Traditional blend of 45% pinot noir, 33% chardonnay, 22% meunier.

Extra brut, almost no sugar (less than 6 g/L); brut is slightly sweeter (less than 12 g/L). Lemon hint gives this depth with surprise tartness. The making is intriguing and provides complexity. White wine from pinot noir is made with a quick pressing and fast separation, producing a pale white. All juice is first pressing only. Reserve wines used to make this non-vintage effort date back to 1985.

The wine aged three years sur lie for depth and complexity. Disgorged in July 2020 and held in bottle for a minimum of five months before release. Bruno Paillard was the first maker in Champagne to put the disgorgement date on every bottle, not just their highest-end offerings.

Bruno Paillard winery

Disgorgement is when the plug of material that gathered in the neck of the bottle is removed and the bottle is topped off with a final shot of sparkling to refill. Paillard’s website notes: “There are numerous side effects on the wine as a result of disgorgement. At the moment of disgorgement, the wine undergoes a sort of trauma, as would a patient who undergoes a medical operation. As a matter of fact, in the language of cellar workers, ‘to disgorge’ is expressed by using the word ‘to operate’. As a consequence, the first requirement of the wine after disgorgement is convalescence.

“As with a surgical operation, this convalescence should be longer for an older subject than for a younger one. It is this experience that leads us, at BRUNO PAILLARD, to give a minimum of five months of rest after disgorgement to the Première Cuvée and the Rosé Première Cuvée, which are relatively youthful wines.”

Bruno Paillard

Bruno Paillard was born in 1953. He followed in his family’s footsteps as a wine broker early in his career. In 1981, he sold his collector’s item Jaguar to start his own Champagne company. The website notes: “This might have seemed like a moment of madness in a region that had not seen a new house in nearly a century, and which was characterised by a conservative attitude. However, this young champagne pioneer was determined to achieve his dream.”

Bruno Paillard’s stated mission, from the beginning, was to create Champagne in an extremely pure style, thus the extra brut of this effort. The website notes: “The BRUNO PAILLARD style is a marriage of elegance and complexity which is manifested as a light and smooth effervescence, a remarkable purity, a true freshness and a silky texture. The effervescence has to be delicate. The bubbles are very tiny, almost microscopic, yet they are what release the wine’s aromas and give it a smooth and creamy texture on the palate.

“The colour has to be completely natural. It is bright: green gold for Blanc de Blancs, golden for Première Cuvée and copper for Rosé…. The aromas have to be extremely pure: nuances of citrus fruits and almonds from Chardonnay; red fruits from Pinot Noir; and exotic fruits from Pinot Meunier. By using only the first pressing of the grapes, we ensure that the purest aromas are extracted.”

Alice Paillard

Bruno’s youngest daughter, Alice Paillard, joined the operation in 2007 and now serves as the CEO. They only sell their Champagne through restaurants and fine wine stores.

Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Extra Brut Champagne NV delivers elegance, balance, racy acidity, creamy mouthfeel. A whole lot to like in this classic Champagne from Reims. Bruno Paillard consistently delivers bubbly with finesse and elegance. This is latest iteration in that tradition. Very well priced for this quality. Clearly works as an aperitif, toasting wine at a special event–especially if you want to impress guests. As with most sparkling wine, will pair with just about any fare you want, save maybe rich red meats, and even then, would work before or after the beef feast. $50-60

Champagne Bruno Paillard website

Bruno and Alice Paillard
Paillard vineyard