Grand Cru Champagne villages were historically classified in 1919 then revised again in 1985. The village of Bouzy is one of the original twelve grand cru villages and retains the honor today along with the current seventeen. Nestled in the southern heart of Montagne de Reims, Bouzy is arguably the most venerated of the mountain’s villages. Most famously known for its ability to fully ripen and deliver rich, complex Pinot Noir thanks to its prime southeastern exposure, it also delivers beautiful Chardonnay as well. Pierre Paillard’s holdings are comprised of eleven hectares of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay that are grown in secondary and tertiary chalk soil all of which is farmed sustainably with meticulous attention to detail.
The Paillard family history is almost as deep as the ancient soils of Bouzy; Antoine Paillard first cultivated vines and made his own wines in the grand cru village of Bouzy back in 1768. For eight generations, the Paillards have been growing and producing their own artisanal champagne and they have been doing so under the Pierre Paillard label for four generations now. Pierre’s 58-year-old son, Benoit has been master of the keys since 1973 and he now shares the daily running of the vineyard and cellar with his two capable sons, Antoine and Quentin, who have studied and traveled the wine world extensively. They jointly crafted this NV Grand Cru Brut from twenty-two small parcels that average around twenty-five years in age. The blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from the 2010 base and 2009 reserve is fermented with the natural yeasts, malolactic is uninterrupted and the wine is vinified sur lie in vats for eight months. Once in bottle, this wine ages an impressive three and a half years on its lees. Following disgorgement, the champagne receives a minimal 7g/l dosage. The result is an opulent, creamy nectar in perfect harmony with its minerality and freshness.
This Champagne exhibits a highly concentrated golden hue where fine bubbles slowly rise through the viscous liquid. The dense and complex nose boasts classic Champagne aromas that are driven by fresh cream, freshly baked brioche, yellow apples, lemon curd over notes of dried white flowers, honeycomb, white mushroom and a touch of red currant. The palate delivers everything I look for in full-bodied champagne with flavors of rising bread dough, creamed yellow apples, lemon meringue and dried white flowers, which is beautiful balanced with moderate-plus acidity and oyster shell like minerality on the finish. I would ideally serve this wine at roughly 50 degrees in an open mouth champagne flute, Riesling stem or a white wine stem. As I have said before, a tall, slender flute will make the most aromatic champagne smell one dimensional. Pair this champagne with this Chicken and Waffles
the next time you have friends over on a Sunday. They will be blown away.