1999 is a classic vintage that combined richness with outstanding aging potential. Bruno’s aging regimen ends complexity and a slightly oaky hint that connoisseurs will recognize as the hallmark of the great Champagnes of the past.
Wine Advocate 95 points - After 1990, 1995 and 1996, the fine fizzing golden-yellow 1999 N.P.U. (Nec Plus Ultra; latin for ””There is nothing beyond””) is the fourth vintage of this prestige cuvee from Bruno Paillard. Sourced from the four grands crus of Mailly, Verzenay, Oger and Le Mesnil sur Oger, the musts were fermented and aged for 10 months in barriques before the finest 42 barrels were selected for this 50/50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir cuvee. The Champagne was kept for more than 12 years on the lees before it was disgorged in January 2012 with a small dosage of 4 g/l and spent another year in the cellar before a total of 11508 bottles and 508 magnums was launched on the market. Number 2879 of the 1999 NPU offers a uniquely rich and aromatically very particular bouquet of ripe and dried fruit aromas, dried flowers, potted ginger, candied lemon and orange peel, mandarins, roasted sesame, walnuts, resin and ultra ripe pears (Williams) to name just a few of the steadily developing aromas. The really complex and multi-layered nose leads to a rich, intense, round, voluminous and elegant Champagne of great expression and persistency. Firmly structured and remarkably mineral in the long aftertaste, this is a big character, quite aristocratic but also sensual and harmonious. Unfortunately this modern ””classic”” is highly expensive but worth a dinner for two. The wine benefits a lot from a certain time in a big wine glass. (Nov 2014)
Wine Spectator 93 points - Very elegant, favoring form over flavor, with well-cut acidity and a texture like fine silk. This offers lasting, finely woven notes of quince paste, black currant, lightly toasted almond, dried pineapple and fleur de sel. Disgorged January 2012. Drink now through 2020. 959 cases made. –AN
(Nov 30 2013)
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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 50% of his production needs and they are farmed organically and sustainably a rigorous and delicate job given that his holdings are subdivided into 70 different parcels. Bruno sources the remaining fruit through long-term contracts with high-quality, independent growers. The grapes are hand-harvested, only juice from the first press is used and each wine is vinified separately in stainless steel (75%) and oak (25%). The exception is N.P.U. which is fermented and aged entirely in oak. The multi-vintage blends incorporate 25-50% reserve wines. Sur lie aging is two to three times the AOC requirement - three years for the multi-vintages, at least eight years for the vintages and 10-15 years for the N.P.U. Although they are labeled as Brut, all of Paillard’s Champagnes are technically Extra Brut as their dosage is 6 grams or less per liter. Bruno Paillard produces a mere 42,000 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. Naturally, they pair beautifully with food and Champagne Bruno Paillard can be found on the wine list of more than 400 Michelin starred restaurants. All bottles carry the disgorgement date on the back label, a quality step pioneered by Paillard. After disgorgement, the bottles rest in the cellar for a minimum of 3-4 months before they are labeled and shipped.
Wine maker notes
Only in truly great vintages....
First, an exceptional vintage is needed: after improving our ”savoir faire” during the
80’s, the first ever N.P.U - Nec Plus Ultra, a 1990 vintage, was released in 2002. Then
came N.P.U. 1995 and the iconic N.P.U. 1996… After these three tremendous although
quite different vintages comes N.P.U. 1999, a wine with a seemingly more classical
In 1999, the summer drought stressed the vine strongly until several short but frequent
rains arrived early September, which progressively brought the fruits to maturity. The
1999 harvest offered perfectly healthy grapes, allying aromatic richness with a very
interesting ageing potential.
Exclusively ”Grands Crus” grapes...
Out of the 320 villages in the Champagne Appellation, only 17 are rated ”Grands Crus”:
grapes from 4 of these were selected to create N.P.U - Nec Plus Ultra 1999: Bouzy,
Verzenay, Oger, Le Mesnil sur Oger. Not just born in a great vintage, the grapes also
originate from the most noble crus.
In small wooden barrels....
As always at Maison Bruno Paillard, only the first pressing - the purest - was retained.
But an essential characteristic of the N.P.U - Nec Plus Ultra is that the first fermentation
was conducted in small wooden barriques where the wines spent their first 10 months.
During this period each ”Cru” developed its own personality while acquiring these
slightly woody aromas which used to be found in yesterday’s wines. The following
summer, in July 2000, we selected and blended the best 42 barriques (21 of chardonnay,
21 of pinot noir) of which we obtained 11 508 bottles and 508 magnums, each of them
More than twelve years in the Cellar...
The second fermentation followed almost immediately after bottling and a long
maturation started in our 10,5°C temperature controlled cellars. This bottle remained
ageing this way more than 12 years, including a “convalescence” rest after its
disgorgement – which date is indicated on its back label.As always at Bruno Paillard, the “dosage” is very low. For N.P.U. – Nec Plus Ultra it is
reduced to a strict minimum, 4 g/L, hardly perceptible. The bottles are returned to the
cellar for a year of “recovery rest” before their launch on the market.
(50% Pinot Noir 50% Chardonnay). Made only in exceptional vintages with only Grand Cru fruit from Bouzy, Oger, Le Mesnilsur- Oger, and Verzenay. The individual crus were fermented in small oak barrels and aged for ten months. The best 22 barriques (11 of Chardonnay, 11 of Pinot Noir) were blended and the bottles left to mature sur lie for 12 years. The wine was disgorged and received a minimal dosage of 4g/l, then aged for another year in the cellar.
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.