Grower Champagne Club – January 2017

Pierre Paillard, La Grande Récolte, Bouzy Grand Cru, 2006, $60
Our January club often features the star from our December grower Champagne tasting and this month is no exception. We quickly sold out of this wine after just a few hours, with requests for more, and with good reason. This wine is stunning. Antoine Paillard settled in the village of Bouzy, in the Montagne de Reims, around 1768 where he bought and planted a few acres of vineyards on the local chalky soils. Today the family has 11 hectares (28 acres) of Grand Cru vineyards there, some of which they have been farming for neary 250 years. La Grande Récolte represents “the quintessence of the Paillard’s vineyards.” It is half Chardonnay and half Pinot Noir, blended from only the first press of their old vine fruit. It is vinified in stainless steel and after malolactic fermentation, left on its lees for eight months until bottling. The wine is then further aged for nine years in their 19th century cellars, located 16 meters below ground. This offering, from the amazing 2006 vintage, is intense and complex and a wonderful expression of Bouzy terroir with its chalky minerality. At 2.6 grams dosage, it is technically an extra brut but it has plenty of meat on its bones. There’s lots going on here, with flavors of toasty lees, hints of spice, and incredible concentration. Enjoy it on its own or, as the winery suggests, with lobster, grilled scallops, roast lamb, or Comté cheese.