Mr. Bruno Paillard, unlike other Champenoise, started his estate only in 1981, at the age of 27 and with a fistful of French Francs (about 15,000 Euros, I believe). He did come from a family with a connection to the land – they were brokers and growers in the two Grands Crus villages of Bouzy and Verzenay, dating back to 1704.
Paillard, over a lunch at les Amis, described Champagne’s terroir, “… it’s the savoir faire of the producers and growers combined with the unique conditions – Nordic climate, sealife sediment in the soils and four marked seasons – that makes Champagne what it is.”
“The term ‘Non-Vintage’ sounds so negative. I prefer the term MV or ‘Multi-Vintage’ and you could say we were the first to use this term. It best describes how we make our wine – We use a solera style system of reserve wines so every wine you get is a blend of older vintages. To do this well, we store our reserves cuvee by cuvee rather than by vineyard. We also age our wine longer than most other houses,” states Paillard. “Naturally, all our wines carry the date of ‘degorgement’,” he continued.
Champagne aficionados will be familiar with N.P.U. – another term that Paillard came up with. In latin, N.P.U. or ‘Nec Plus Ultra’ means ‘there is nothing beyond’. Certainly a highly ambitious statement.
Bruno Paillard’s first NPU was a 1990, released in 2002. Only Grands Cru village grapes are selected; first pressings are only used, the wine was aged in small oak barrels and the wine is matured in the bottle, on lees for at least a decade; after which the wine is returned to the cellar following degorgement. Hence an NPU is always at least 12 years old. Whilst NPU wines made to date have been ultra-luxurious elegant and complex champagnes (11,000 bottles and 500 magnums for each issue), 2016 marks the release of a magnificent rosé – the N.P.U. 2003.
Only 826 bottles of the N.P.U. Rosé 2003 were produced. The wine is sumptuous and sublime – with aromas of red berries, spices and candied fruit and a generous broad palate and minerals.
Available at Vinum.