“I am a vine-grower, wine-maker and globetrotter. I love wine and I am fascinated by champagne. I like the idea that you need years to build, elaborate and create exceptional cuvées.”
Champagne Pierre Paillard’s history dates back 8 generations to 1768 in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy. The family’s domaine is now under the control of brothers Antoine and Quentin who represent the fourth generation to produce and bottle the wines under their family name. Their vineyards are divided into 28 parcels spread over 11 hectares on the prestigious Bouzy terroir. While Bouzy is know as a pinot noir village, 40 percent of their vines are chardonnay as Antoine explained to us that is what his grandfather decided to plant as it brings freshness to their wines.
Antoine, who has officially taken over all growing and winemaking at the family’s domaine explains, “Everything starts by choosing the date of the harvest. This is the first vital decision which will influence our wines. Once again, it is a question of balance, the important ratio between sugar and acidity. So each plot is closely monitored and harvested at the best moment. The grapes are handpicked and brought to our press.”
Their process is slow and without formula as secondary fermentation occurs in their cave, 16 meters below ground on the less for anywhere between 3 to 10 years. Dosage is kept low as the family believes their wines to be of nice balance after extended aging in bottle on the lees.
Each of the family's lieux-dits listed by the year they were planted beginning with lieu-dit Les Mottelettes planted in 1961.
In the vineyards, the Paillards hold a strong belief in respecting the balance between the soil and the vine and transitioned into organic viticulture in 2011. The family has not used any fertilizers over the last 20 years and copper is used instead of chemicals when treating the vines. Yields are controlled at Pierre Paillard and all replanting is sélection massale from two specific parcels depending on the grape variety: Les Maillerettes for pinot noir and Les Mottelettes for chardonnay. During harvest, parcels are picked separately and most of which vinified separately.
“How to create exceptional champagnes? Experience... creativity... patience...”
Pierre Paillard produces five cuvées; two non-vintage Champagnes, “Les Parcelles” and “Les Terres Roses” (Rosé) and three vintage Champagnes, “Les Maillerettes” Blanc de Noirs, “Les Mottelettes” Blanc de Blancs and “La Grand Récolte” which sees extended time in cellar on the lees and is only made during great vintages. They also produce vintage blanc and rouge Coteaux Champenois but production is extremely low and rarely exported.