Reims-based champagne house Bruno Paillard is launching the sixth vintage of its prestige cuvée, N.P.U. (Nec Plus Ultra).
The maison, which favours long maturation for its wines, is one of the last producers to launch a cuvée from the celebrated 2002 vintage; with the N.P.U. 2002 spending 15 years in the cellars before release.
The 2002 follows four other N.P.U. vintage releases since its creation in 1990: 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2003. It is a 50:50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, sourced from six grand cru vineyards: Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Chouilly, Verzenay, Mailly and Bouzy. Unlike other cuvées produced by Bruno Paillard it was fermented entirely in oak barriques.
Following second fermentation, the bottles spent 11 years in the cellar before disgorgement in September 2014. Bruno Paillard is a fierce advocate of allowing champagnes to rest post-disgorgement, comparing the process to a person recovering from an operation.
'The wine needs time to settle and recover – the more time the better,' he said, speaking at the UK launch of the cuvée at Mei Ume restaurant at 10 Trinity Square hotel.
'I have been preaching about disgorgement dates for years,' he added. 'I put a date of disgorgement on my bottles for one very simple reason: I respect my wines and my customers.'
N.P.U. 2002 had three years in the cellar before release and like all Bruno Paillard wines, has a dosage of 3g/l. The nose shows savoury, earthy and spice notes, with a hint of pot pourri, developing more citrus aromas – especially yuzu – as it opens up in the glass. 'It’s a wine that takes time to express itself; it has been trapped in a bottle for 14 years,' quipped Paillard.
On the palate it’s a very vinous style, comparable to white Burgundy, with a density to the texture. Umami notes are underpinned by vibrant acidity, with bready notes and a mineral, saline character that can stand up well to food.
Only 6,200 bottles and 300 magnums of N.P.U. 2002 were created, all individually numbered. The name Nec Plus Ultra comes from the Latin, meaning 'nothing further beyond'. It will be available to the trade from 1 October.
Last week, Imbibe reported tough weather conditions lead to lower yields in the region.
RRP £240, Walker & Wodehouse, 020 7449 1665