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Champagne Bruno Paillard Debuts Luxury Cuvie

Bruce Sanderson
Posted: April 14, 2000

Champagne Bruno Paillard plans to debut a new luxury cuvie in the United States this September. The Nec Plus Ultra Brut 1990, half Pinot Noir and half Chardonnay, will sell for $150.

About one-third of the 1,400-case production will be released this year. In the United States, 1,200 bottles will be available, packaged in three-bottle mini-cases.

Complex and elegant, Nec Plus Ultra 1990 boasts aromas and flavors of bread dough, citrus, honey and hazelnut, with a firm structure and understated power. Sourced from seven grand cru villages (based on an official classification that rates villages on a scale from 80 to 100, with 100 being grand cru), the grapes for N.P.U. are fermented in small oak barrels, then mature for nearly nine years, including one full year in bottle after disgorgement. Bruno Paillard prefers a low dosage (the addition of sweetened wine or spirit after the sediment is disgorged from the bottle), and N.P.U. receives the lowest dosage of all his Champagnes, leaving it nearly bone dry.

Paillard, a former Champagne broker, founded Champagne Bruno Paillard in 1981. Paillard built his reputation on the house's Brut Premihre Cuvie NV, which makes up 40,000 of the firm's 50,000-case annual production. "Any Champagne house should be judged from its nonvintage blend, not the prestige cuvie," he said.

N.P.U. represents the pinnacle of the Paillard range of Champagnes, augmenting the Brut Premihre Cuvie NV ($35), Brut Rosi Premihre Cuvie NV ($40), Brut Chardonnay Riserve Privie NV ($60) and its Brut Vintage, currently the 1989 ($75). According to Paillard, N.P.U. will be made only in the best vintages from the first pressing of grand cru grapes. Paillard expects to release both a 1995 and a 1996 N.P.U. in the future.

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