Bruno Paillard’s family lineage of brokers and growers in the two Grand Cru villages of Bouzy and Verzenay dates back to 1704. Following in their footsteps, Bruno began as a broker in 1975, and acquired a deep and extensive knowledge of the region and its wines. In 1981, at the age of 27, he started his own Champagne house – the first new maison in nearly a century. After renting a cellar for three years and purchasing carefully selected grapes from independent growers, Bruno released his first Champagnes. He then built his own cellar, allowing him total control over temperature, lighting and humidity. In 1990 Bruno built his current winery, and in 1994 began purchasing vineyards. He now has 62 acres, almost half of which are Grand Cru. The fruit from these vineyards cover 1/3 of his production needs and are farmed organically and sustainably – a rigorous and delicate job given that his 62 acres are subdivided into 40 different parcels. Bruno sources the remaining fruit from long-term contracts with high-quality, independent growers. The grapes are hand-harvested and only juice from the first press is used. Each cru is vinified separately, minimal dosage is added (8-9 grams of sugar per liter) and aging is driven not by AOC requirements but by Bruno’s precise and demanding requirements for quality. Bruno produces a mere 45,000 cases per year. From the Brut Premiere Cuvee to the N.P.U. (Non Plus Ultra), each cru shares a hallmark – a certain finesse and wonderful tension between fruit and acidity. All Bruno Paillard bottles carry the disgorgement date on the back label, a quality step pioneered by Paillard. After disgorgement, the bottles rest in the cellar for at least three months before they are labeled and shipped.
(50% Chardonnay/50% Pinot Noir). Made only in exceptional vintages, the grapes selected for N.P.U. (Nec Plus Ultra) are hand-picked from five Grand Cru villages rated 100% on the echelle de cru: Cramant, Chouilly, Mesnil-sur-Oger, Verzenay and Bouzy. The essential difference between N.P.U. and Bruno’s other wines, is that the individual crus are fermented in small oak barrels and aged for an additional nine months. The best 22 barriques (11 of Chardonnay, 11 of Pinot Noir) were then selected and blended, and the wine was left to mature on it lees for 12 years. After three years of aging in bottle, the wine was released 15 years after harvest. Aging in oak lends a complexity and slightly oaky hint that connoisseurs will recognize as the hallmark of the great Champagnes of the past.
Bruno Paillard was born in Reims in 1953. His lineage of brokers and growers in the two Grands Crus villages of Bouzy and Verzenay dates back to 1704. Following in the family’s foot steps, he starts working as a broker in 1975 acquiring a deep and extensive knowledgeof Champagne.
But after 6 years, he is taken by the overwhelming desire to create a different Champagne: one that would go beyond what existed in terms of purity and elegance.
We are in January 1981, Bruno Paillard is 27 years old, and with nothing but his will – no vineyards, no money – he sells his old Jaguar that had become a collector item to provide his company with a starting capital of 50 000 francs (15 000 Euros).
Madness! Nonsense! In a region that hasn’t seen a new house in nearly a century, the mood is rather conservative. But nothing can stop the dream of this pioneer of Champagne.
Bruno Paillard creates his Champagnes in a rented cellar with carefully selected grapes from independent growers. After 3 years of working like an alchemist, improving his know how, he finally reaches the style of his dreams.
In 1984, Bruno Paillard invents the first totally “ground level” cellar. This brand new concept allows an extremely strict control of temperatures, lighting and humidity.
And soon, the very personal style of his wines seduces. Bruno Paillard Champagnes are first recognized by the English Press as some of the best wines of the region. In 1988, the famous critic Hugh Johnson defines the house as “A Small but Prestigious Young ChampagneHouse With Excellent Silky Vintages and Non Vintages!”
In 1990, Bruno Paillard draws the current winery with his architect Jacques Blehaut: a state of the art structure with stainless steel, glass and wood symbolizing the 3 noble vessels of Champagne.
Revolutionary, this new cellar combines the traditional know how with the newest qualitative techniques.
In 1994, Bruno Paillard purchases his first vineyard: 3 hectares in Oger, a beautiful Grand Cru of the Cote des Blancs. Now, the vineyards of the house cover 32 hectares – half of the production needs – including 12 hectares of Grand Crus : Oger, Le Mesnil, Bouzy,Verzenay. The remaining half are today still purchased to the same independent growers families since the early 80’s.
In January 2007 his daughter Alice, one of four children, decided to join and continue the BP family adventure. Starting in the vineyards and then in the cellar for the first year, following with export development, Alice is now a shareholder and co manages the House withher father.
Today Bruno Paillard Champagne produces 4 to 500 000 bottles a year and export 75% of this wines through 40 different countries – mostly to Europe, Asia and Northern America.
Wherever they are represented, the Champagnes of Bruno Paillard are exclusively sold through traditional outlets such as restaurants and fine wine stores. This selective distribution is a guarantee of quality for the client thanks to the good care of sommeliers and fine wine merchants.