A lovely deep but fresh citrus oil nose, a note of chalk and something approaching verbena, almond cream, then as it opens, more of the oyster shell and savoury mineral notes. Excellent crisp precision on the palate, more of the scratched citrus oil, pomelo notes, a lovely saline line to finish things. This is both very refreshing and tonic but also has some real depth of fruit to it. Dry but beautifully balanced. Bottled with 2 grams of dosage. Disgorged Feb 2021 after 42 months sur lie. Motelettes is a rare Bouzy Chardonnay vineyard, grown on the warm south facing slope Bouzy. The vines were planted in 1961, and today act as the mother block for all the Paillard selections massales.
This is a gem of an estate of just 11 hectares, unusually blessed with having uniquely Grand Cru vineyards in the famed village of Bouzy. Nestled on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims, this village, along with neighbouring Ambonnay, is famed for producing some of the region’s most intense, profound and exceptional Pinot Noir. If you enjoy the statuesque wines of Egly-Ouriet, you will know what these chalky slopes can produce…
The Paillards have been crafting wine in Grand Cru village of Bouzy for over 200 years, yet it is only in recent years that the estate has begun to fulfil its true potential. Brothers Antoine and Quentin returned to the Domaine in 2008, before taking full control in 2012. Bringing energy, an outward looking sensibility and a deep respect for their fantastic vineyards, the brothers have rejuvenated the estate to such a degree that it now stands as one of the finest family houses in all of Champagne.
Being Bouzy, their holdings are dominated by Pinot Noir, most of which is either their own sélection massale or Burgundian Pinot Fin and of an impressive age. Soil health is seen as paramount and as a result only organic composts and treatments are employed. Fermentations are spontaneous, malos never blocked, and the wines are never chaptalized or cold stabilised – this is the sort of hands-off winemaking that is only made possible by exceptional fruit and very attentive farming.
A steadily increasing proportion of wooden barrels is employed for the small lot vinifications that are the norm here, before ageing sur lie in their 17m deep, spotless, historic family cellars. In the case of Les Parcelles this runs to an impressive 48 months prior to release –commensurate with the fact that the blend is composed from 22 individually vinified plots of Grand Cru vineyards – quite a claim for a mere ‘entry’ level wine. Dominated by Pinot Noir this is a seriously delicious Champagne full of precise golden fruit and a deeply impressive minerality – it is without a doubt one of the finest NV blends we’ve come across.
Beyond Les Parcelles, an extremely impressive Rosé includes 5% of Bouzy Coteaux Champenois in the blend, leading to a pink fizz of delicate spice and real sophistication. There are also two sadly scarce single vineyards bottlings in the range; the old vine Blanc de Noir Maillerettes and a rare Bouzy Blanc de Blancs Mottelettes – both of which hail from historic and highly chalky plots of over 50 year old vines, aged for more than 60 months sur lie, before bottling with under 4 grams of sugar. The final wine in the range is a 2008 Grand Recolte, a wine released after 10 years of ageing from some of the oldest vines on the estate and something of a nod to previous generations.
We are thrilled and delighted to be representing the Pierre Paillard Champagnes here in the UK: an estate with both a long history and newfound sense of energy; a reference point for Bouzy, and well on the way to becoming one of the region’s most sought-after addresses.