NV Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Extra Brut Grand Cru, Bouzy, Champagne, France (750ml)

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Members of the Paillard family have been living in the village of Bouzy for over four centuries. They were a humble lot of mostly shepherds, innkeepers and teachers until 1768 when Pierre Paillard purchased his first vineyard, effectively introducing viticulture as a new family vocation. Eight generations later, it is Benoit Paillard and his sons, Antoine and Quentin who run Pierre Paillard while their cousin, Bruno Paillard owns his a separate domaine. The Pierre Paillard estate covers 11 hectares of vines which are farmed according to organic practices (though they are not certified) and planted 65% to Pinot Noir and 35% to Chardonnay. It is a little unusual for one producer to have so much Chardonnay given that Bouzy is predominantly planted to Pinot Noir. However, it is the 40% of Chardonnay, with 60% Pinot Noir, which adds extra lift and acidity to this quietly complex Champagne. The Paillards call it, ‘Les Parcelles’ (The Parcels) because it is a cuvée from 22 individual plots with an average vine age of 25 years. This particular release is based on 65% from the 2011 vintage and 35% from the 2010 harvest. With a low dosage of 3.5 grams per liter, it is labeled an Extra Brut, yet thanks to the deeply toned red fruited character from the Pinot Noir combined with the overall creamier texture and fuller body, it barely feels like one.

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