Champagne Bruno Paillard Releases N.P.U. Nec Plus Ultra Extra Brut 2008

Bruno Paillard N.P.U. Nec Plus Ultra Extra Brut 2008

© Photo provided

Bruno Paillard N.P.U. Nec Plus Ultra  Extra Brut 2008

Bruno Paillard N.P.U. Nec Plus Ultra Extra Brut 2008

© Photo provided

Nothing spurs ambitious people on like a challenge. And Bruno Paillard was challenged. At a lunch with British journalists in the late 1980s, this young man who had set up his own Champagne house in 1981, was chided for making ‘only’ multi-vintage blends.

Nothing beyond

This led to a discussion about what would constitute the ‘ultimate’ Champagne prestige cuvée. They came up with several points to which Paillard added his own wisdom:

  • It is only made in great vintages
  • It is made exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards
  • It is made from the first pressing only, i.e. the first 50cl of each kg of grapes
  • Its base wine is 100% barrel-fermented and stays on lees for 9-10 months
  • It is aged for a decade in bottle after tirage (when sugar and yeast are added to the blended still wine)
  • It has an extra brut dosage
  • It is not released until at least a year after disgorgement

Paillard went to work and duly created his masterpiece, calling it nec plus ultra, Latin for ‘there is nothing beyond.’ He presented the first iteration of this cuvée in 1990 and the wine was made again in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and again in 2008.

The 2008 vintage

Today, Paillard’s daughter Alice heads the house and was in London to present the N.P.U. Nec Plus Ultra Extra Brut 2008 – a vintage that beguiles lovers of sleek, taut Champagnes. She called 2008 one of those “years that are absolutely key in the history of Champagne.”

“This is a wine that has waited for almost 13 years to be opened for you,” she said. “It is a very slow wine. Wine is a combination of a will and a gift,” she noted. A gift from nature and the human will to make something special.

The main players in the 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend are Bouzy, Verzenay and Mailly for Pinot and Le Mesnil, Oger and Avize for Chardonnay. The base wines were fermented in 6 to 7-year-old 227-litre oak barrels and remained there on their lees for up to ten months. After tirage, the wines matured for a decade in bottle before being disgorged in April 2019 with an extra brut dosage of 3g/l.

“The 2008 N.P.U. is quite an energetic and vibrant character. It is a very slow wine, and its ambition is to develop complexity while always keeping its freshness. It will not lose its energy.” Alice Paillard is right – the wine is incisive and will bring joy for many years.