The founding of a Champagne house in modern times is an extraordinary financial challenge; 20 years on, former broker Bruno Paillard’s eponymous house is not only still in existence, but apparently thriving.
Paillard himself is sole owner, as he is of de Nauroy; he is also major shareholder (around 43%) in the complicated, publicly quoted BCC group which unites Boizel, Chanoine, Abel Lepitre, Philipponat, and de Venoge. Paillard’s own Champagnes are taut, tight, slender, and pure, with low dosages and impressively informative back labels which tell you much about the composition of the blend and the date of disgorgement. The Brut non-vintage, which contains a high 33% of Chardonnay, is incisive and scalpel-like, needing a little time to find aromatic articulacy; there is a fine, refreshingly fruit-scattered Rose; while the Chardonnay Reserve Priveé, founded on Paillard’s own 3ha in Oger, takes the surgeon-like incision to new depths, though around the cut you will find sap, leaf, and grapefruit. There are up to three wines carrying a vintage date: a Blanc de Blancs, a classic Vintage (the 1995 is vigorous and thrusting, with a slightly broader, more vinous style than the Paillard norm), and the prestige NPU (only Grand Cru components from seven villages; only oak-fermented wines).