Quentin Paillard of Pierre Paillard Champagne with Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape
The Champagne Bureau’s annual trade tasting took place October 21, 2014 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco’s Union Square. With 37 brands represented, it was important to get there early and taste quickly as an hour in the room was packed and the noise level was like that of a cocktail party.
Here are some of my top picks:
Pierre Paillard Bouzy Rosé Brut Grand Cru nv $72 This old-vine blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bouzy Rouge is hauntingly intense, minerally, smoky, and very serious with notes of rose petal, ginger, sea shell, Hostess Sno Ball cake, and salt water taffy. It is represented in California by DNS Wines. Brothers Antoine and Quentin Paillard, whose father is the cousin of Bruno Paillard, represent the 8th generation of this family-run business.
Champagne Collet Esprit Couture Brut Ay nv $120 Handcrafted from vineyard to packaging, this feminine cuvee has notes of vanilla bean, peach, rose petal, and chalk. It is delicate, ethereal almost on the palate. This is newly available in selected markets in the USA – in California it is represented by Alluvial.
2004 Champagne Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs Reims $90 Rich, bone dry, lemony, minerally and yeasty, this elegant Champagne from a classic vintage delivers the Bruno Paillard signature: “purity, substance, minerality, and elegance.” Bruno is grooming his daughter Alice to be the next CEO.
2004 Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil-sur-Oger $90 This “Baby Salon” is a 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay from Le Mesnil, whose sister winery just happens to be Salon. For a fraction of the price of Salon, and without waiting for years for the wine to soften, this beauty is just the ticket. It has notes of lemon curd, rising bread, chalk and honey and is delicate and fine on the palate.
2005 Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut $225 Aged on the lees for 10 years before release, this 100% Chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs is as rich and decadent as they come – think pumpkin bread and honey-coated brioche and fruit cake.
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