Bruno Paillard was recently in Stockholm for a tasting of his champagnes, organised by the wine importer Tryffelsvinet. Exciting wines, some unusual ones, and some absolutely delicious. BKWine’s Ulf Bengtsson reports on the champagnes.
The wine importer Tryffelsvinet (The Truffles Pig) invited us to a tasting of a range of champagnes from Bruno Paillard, led by Bruno himself. Very nice! I really appreciate the opportunity to meet and talk to the winemaker himself. It drastically lessens the distances in the triangle wine geek-terroir-winemaker. But let’s start with some wine!
The tasting began with three versions of the “standard” champagne from Bruno Paillard, the Brut Première Cuvée, disgorged in 2011, 2006, and 2002. But “standard” is perhaps the wrong word.
Bruno asked if we had any idea why most champagnes are named after a person instead of being named after a vineyard, as is the case in most other parts of the world. Pommery, Bollinger, Krug…?
A poetic way of putting it is that in Champagne what counts is a certain person’s interpretation of the terroir.
Different people have made different blends and they have lived on and kept their styles. Different winemakers have created different champagnes according to his own ideas. And it was this desire to make “his own” blend that was the spark that made Bruno Paillard create his own champagne house, Maison Bruno Paillard.
Paillard sold his collection automobile, a Jaguar if you want to know, to get enough starting capital. Thus, in 1983 he was in business. Initially he bought grapes for his champagnes but as the business grew he also bought his own vineyards.
That’s that. Back to the present.
On the 2012 vintage Bruno has nothing but trouble to tell: frost, difficulties at flowering, hail damage, oidium and then, as icing on the cake, mildiou. But in the end the weather turned drier and what grapes remained may well make for a quite good vintage.
Now to the wines:
Brut Première Cuvée Dégorgement 2011: it is very light in colour with initial hints of apple, fresh apples but also softer winter apples. Very minerally. Good push in the acidity, delicious wine (349 SEK, ~35€)
Brut Première Cuvée Dégorgement 2006: essentially the same colour but the character has a lot more maturity. More ripe and soft apples, some cheese (brie), flint. More of everything actually! When I come back to it later it has developed some hints of port wine.
Brut Première Cuvée Dégorgement 2002: Curiously the apples have gone missing here. Instead there are more green edgy characters. More notes of barrel aging too.
Three very interesting champagnes with a good acidity and complexity in the character. The Brut Première Cuvée is made from 45% pinot noir, 33% chardonnay and 22% pinot meunier. Overall very appley in style with a nice fresh acidity. A very positive surprise for me, the non-vintage champagne from Bruno Paillard.
Rosé Première Cuvée Dégorgement 2012: It charms us all. Totally. The colour is copper and the wine talks about citrus, oranges… This is what a rosé champagne should be. Very refreshing, playful, naughty. Absolutely delicious!
We end the tasting with two of Paillard’s vintage champagnes: 2002 Brut Assemblage and 1999 Blanc de Blancs. The 2002 was degorged in July 2011 and the 1999 the same year.
First the 2002 Brut Assemblage: the colour is light, it has some spices on the nose, very fresh acidity. I find hints of orange candied marmalade, interesting! It is a delicious wine, very balance and fresh. Elegant and with a lot of personality.
The 1999 Blanc de Blancs was also a very solid build but did not reach the same heights as the 2002 Brut Assemblage. It is more ripe, almost a bit closed, marzipan, wax and a hint of bitterness. Very nice, yes, but overshadowed by some of the other wines on the table.
In conclusion it was a very pleasant afternoon that taught me a lot. A big thank you to the organisers and to Bruno Paillard.
More on Champagnes Bruno Paillard.
Ulf Bengtsson writes about wine under the pseudonym Red Scream on his blog Red Scream and Riesling, on wine, food, photography and other things that are important in life. Like detective novels, taking long walks in Stockholm and the occasional burst of exercise. He is on twitter as @Red_scream and on Facebook.
This post is also available in: Swedish