Pierre Paillard La Grande Recolte 2008
A vintage champagne is the ultimate champagne in expressing richness and complexity. This is a 50:50 split of pinot and chardonnay coming from some of the oldest family parcels. The colour is golden and the palate offers very refined aromas of red berries, blood orange and chalky minerality. The bubbles are fine, creamy and sensuous.
Welcome to the new generation of the family grower. Brothers Quinton and Antoine Paillard add a cool factor to champagne and are doing a great job. Slick new labels are just a hint to the progressive minds of these new generation wine makers. The wines zoom in on the Bouzy terroir that their vineyards are planted in (yes this is really a Champagne village!). This is a grand cru region famed for big bold pinot noir grapes with power and drive and it presents in most wines created by the maison but the wines are not tempered by dosage. Under the careful watch of father Pierre Paillard, the champagnes from this family owned estate are direct and straight from vine to wine. The Paillard family owns 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay grapes, blending pinot noir oriented champagnes and only utilising the ‘noble grape’ varieties. With a staunchly organic and natural approach to their wine making, these are connoisseur’s wines and are strictly on allocation.
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Champagne is a wine region to the north-east of Paris where wine has been grown since the Romans first planted in the 5th century and the region is most well known for the sparkling wine that goes by the regions name.
Champagne is made from 3 grapes. The two red grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and the white grape Chardonnay. All three are commonly blended though a ‘blanc de blanc’ meaning ‘white from white’ indicates that only Chardonnay was used. Conversely a ‘blanc de noir’ or ‘white from black’ indicates that the two red grapes were used.
A common misconception is that Champagne was invented by Dom Pérignon. Although this is not the case, he made considerable contributions to the quality and production methods used in the region. The very first bottles of Champagne were created by accident, and coined ‘the devil’s wine’ for all the popping corks. Sparkling wine in Australia was referred to as Champagne but this practise has long been disallowed.
Methode Champenoise is the traditional method by which Champagne is produced and if you see Millisime on a bottle, it represents the fact that the wine comes from a particular vintage rather than being blended, which is the more common practice.
Icons such as Dom Pérignon and Kristal are world reknowned, but we find as much pleasure in the smaller Champagne houses such as Gosset and Jacquinot. Magnums are perfect for the festive occasions and half bottles are also available.
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About the brand Pierre Gaillard
Pierre Gaillard cultivates vines on some of the most beautiful terroirs of the northern Rhône valley, ranging from Cote-Rotie down through to Cornas in the south. Over 77 hectares, these vineyards span the region’s steep, rocky hillsides. Shale soil brings a lot of character, elegance, and complexity to Pierre Gaillard wines. With exacting standards and meticulous attention to detail from vine to bottle, the brand cultivates Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne.