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Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

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We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

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Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

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Friday
Sep072012

Champagne Friday: Pierre Paillard Mother Vines

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Pierre Paillard Mother Vines

How often can a Champagne lover taste a great growers two best plots, both individually and then blended together- and all as finished wines? For this Champagne lover, I have only done it once, with the Pierre Paillard Acte 1 Blanc de Blancs, Acte 1 Blanc de Noirs and 2002 Grand Cru Brut Vintage. Some good friends of ours had come over for dinner on Sunday, and we had a little bit of each one with some appetizers that I had made. We stoppered up the three bottles and drank them again with sushi on Wednesday. The stoppers did an excellent job and I will open way more than necessary for many occasions to come! 

The Paillard family has 11 hectares total, all in the grand cru village of Bouzy. They choose to propagate their own massal selections for all of their plantations, and do not use any commercial clones. When Antoine & Quentin Paillard got involved with the family business, the first thing they decided to do was make two wines from the two “mother plots” that they propagate the new vines from. The idea is to make them every year as single varietal, single vineyard, and single harvest wines, numbered in series. The first releases are just now out, and are both based on 2007, and are serialized as “Acte 1”. The 2008 will be labled as “Acte 2” and so on from there.

The 0.8 acre Motellettes is the site for the Pierre Paillard "Acte 1" Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($49.99) and was planted to Chardonnay in 1961. Like other great mountain of Reims Chardonnays that I have had, this wine has a touch of white stone fruit flavor to balance out the chalky minerality and haunting texture. It is great Champagne, subtle, complex and worth coming back to in order to get to know. The wine is dosed at only 8 grams per liter and comes across as very dry. I served it with popcorn with grated parmesan, drizzled with white truffle oil and sprinkled with fleur de sel. This was a good pairing for it and brought out the creamy elements in the wine. With the sushi, it was the most flexible wine of the three and went great with the embarrassing rolls that I like to order.

Pierre Paillard "Acte 1" Grand Cru Blanc de NoirsThe Maillerettes plot for the Pierre Paillard "Acte 1" Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Champagne ($49.99) is also just 0.8 acres and was planted to Pinot Noir in 1970. It is very powerful, dry Pinot Champagne also at 8 grams per liter of dosage. I find it to have black cherry Pinot flavor married to a chalky cut that is all Champagne. This bottle really shined with potato chips topped with crème fraiche and smoked salmon, bringing out the savory elements of this top class Pinot Noir Champagne. With the sushi it went best with the fish, we had salmon again and hamachi. This is very, very serious, very great Champagne.

2002 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut VintageBoth the Maillerettes and the Motellettes are blended together in equal proportions for the 2002 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Vintage Champagne ($59.99 in 750); ($119 in magnum). The extra five years of ageing given to marry these exceptional plots makes for something very special. The great 2002 vintage is no doubt also beneficial to the end result: one of the greatest Champagnes in stock at K&L at any price. On Sunday I served this with a piece of simply prepared wild pacific salmon. My attempt to make a popcorn crust (and thus tie together the two previous courses as the vineyard sites are tied together) failed miserably- the popcorn refused to be chopped into anything I could use as a crust! I guess I need to stick to the wine business! Pairing Champagne from Bouzy with wild salmon is about as inventive as serving claret with steak, but classics are classics for a reason. With the sushi, I found the 2002 to be a great all around bottle, but it really had synergy with the spicy tuna roll and the avocado maki. It will also make a fine foie gras Champagne if you live in a state where it is still legal.

I hope that you will try these fantastic wines, as they are in the top class of what is available in Champagne. Many of you enjoyed the regular brut in the K&L Champagne Club, and I promise that these bottles are a worthy progression from there.

A toast to you!

–Gary

***

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