Medium straw-gold color; delicate lime, grapefruit, lemon, bread on the nose; citrus, pineapple, redcurrant, almonds, brioche, cherry, strawberry on the palate.
Extra brut; soft, smooth, and bright; pure, fresh, elegant with excellent palate-cleansing acidity and minerality. Full body for a champagne with nice complexity and depth. Very active, very tiny bubbles. Brisk finish with citrus, minerality, touch of salt notes. Blend of 45% pinot noir, 33% chardonnay, 22% pinot meunier; 12% ABV.
Disgorged in January 2018 and held in bottle for minimum of five months before release. Bruno Paillard was the first maker in Champagne to put the disgorgment date on every bottle, not just their highest end offerings.
Disgorgment 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 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, is 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 colour of the vintages becomes deeper, and almost amber after several decades. 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.”
Bruno’s daughter, Alice Paillard, recently joined the operation. They only sell their Champagne through restaurants and fine wine stores.
Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Extra Brut Champagne NV is fresh, delicate, and shows great finesse and admirable elegance. Purity is the core of this effort. No tricks, just a solid beam of palate-cleansing bubbly. This is built to be an aperitif, but it also will pair nicely with poultry, shellfish, and brie de meaux, camembert, and aged cheese. There is a recipe for clam risotto designed especially for this wine on the Bruno Paillard website—worth a look and a try. $58-65