The Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésime by Maison Bruno Paillard is made exclusively from the first pressing, the purest, of the great Chardonnay vintages from the heart of the Côte des Blancs: the villages of Oger and Le Mesnil- sur-Oger, 20% of which is vinified in small oak barrels. At least 7 years of ageing in the cellar, including a minimum of 18 months of rest after dégorgement, and a final dosage of only 3 g/l - making it an Extra Brut - allow it to reach an optimal level of expression.
The 2012 vintage is marked by intensity: both of its climatic episodes and of its aromas. The year 2012 began with a mild winter, which suddenly became more severe in February. A cold wave lasted almost 10 days, with temperatures sometimes dropping below zero, reaching even -20° C. With the mildness of spring, the rain returned, and then the cold again, which caused big frosts on the budding vines. Rain and thunderstorms, sometimes marked by hail, alternated until summer, and the sensitive flowering period was also hit by a wave of cold weather. In August, the sun and heat subside, allowing the grapes to ripen harmoniously. During August, the drought intensified to the point of causing water stress in some areas, despite the historic rainfall of the previous months... The harvest proceeded peacefully, although rain, this time much expected, reappeared only at the end of the harvest. While the year offered a relatively low yield, the quality of the grapes at harvest, particularly in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, was brilliant.
The Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2012 is bright gold in colour, with a fine and very active perlage. To the nose it seems first reserved but then gradually the freshness of citrus fruits, grapefruit, open up the wine. Surprising aromas of ripe stone fruit and apricot follow in strength. Notes of honey, concentration of white flowers from peppery and even mentholated notes characterised the bouquet. After a few minutes in the glass, notes of liquorice, toast and marzipan appear, mixed with candied fruit. To the palate, the attack is enveloping, the structure is deep, broad, almost carnal, punctuated by a slight effervescence. Faithful to the nose, one can also find fruit, salt and cedar wood spice on the palate. Intensity, strength, but also grace are revealed in these successive openings.
To visually represent this Millésime, Japanese artist Takehiko Sugawara was commissioned to develo and idea around the topic: "Where strength meets grace". Born in Tokyo in 1962, Takehiko Sugawara entered the Tama University of Fine Arts in Tokyo in 1989. In 1994, he was awarded the Young Talent Grant by the Gotoh Memorial Foundation. Since 2005, he has been teaching at Kyoto University of Arts and Design. Sugawara's painting is reminiscent of the great Japanese masters. His work harmoniously blends ancestral traditions with a modernity that is close to pure abstraction. Aware of the impossibility of reproducing nature exactly, Sugawara assumes his role as the creator of a new form of this same nature to which he gives a clear emotional and spiritual charge.
The Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2012 was produced in just 12,018 bottles and 1,950 magnums.
Bruno Paillard was born in Reims in 1953 and started his activity as courtier in 1975. In 1981 he founded the Maison with his name: Champagne Bruno Paillard. Nowadays he owns around 32 hectares spread around the best Grand Cru terriroties in the Champagne region, with an annual production of 500,000 bottles. This is a limited production, since he strongly wants to pursue quality by the best grapes, the first pressing, and a really low dosage: wines reserves are then used to create his Cuvées. After disgorging, the bottle rests for at least 6 months before reaching the market. This is the ideal amount of time according to Bruno Paillard to recover from the oxydation stress due to disgorging. He is so proud of his method, that he started indicating the disgorging date on the Champagne label in 1983: many other maisons now follows this practice.
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