“We keep making great wines only because there are great experts”.
These are the elegant words chosen by Mime Alice Paillard in order to said goodbye to the guests from the Baita Gardonè. I had the opportunity to be one of them, and to spend the night talking about champagne in this lovely lodge located in the Fiemme Valley, 1800 meters on the sea level. Thanks to the invitation of Maison di Champagne Bruno Paillard and thanks to the hospitality provided by Montain Resort Ganischgerhof, I had the opportunity to spend a lovely night learning lots of new and interesting information about champagne.
If you have ever tasted at least a glass of Bruno Paillard Champagne I am sure that you have carved the name of the Maison in your mind, but I am also sure that you don’t know the story behind it. I will share it with you: Alice – AD and daughter of the co-founder who (before guiding us through a 8 millésime tasting), told us about the beginning of this small family-run empire and about the philosophy of the Maison that aims at focusing on quality.
Bruno Paillard was born from an ancient family of winemakers in the Champagne region; he started his activity as a mediator in 1975 and then, in 1981, he started his own company. Despite being the youngest company within the industry, the Maison Bruno Paillard is currently family-run and it is completely independent.
The property covers 32 hectares – including 12 Grands Crus – and its annual production ranges between 4 and 500.000 bottles. As you can see numbers are not huge; this is the first symptom of excellence. Alice explained how Bruno Paillard’s Champagne bottles are produced according to the most traditional methods, using the best grapes available in the Champagne region. Besides using the grapes of the house, the Maison purchases grapes coming from independent growers from more than 30 different local villages. I was fascinated to know that the richness of champagne comes from the ability of using the best qualities of a poor territory that is subject to different micro climates as well as to oceanic influences. This is the reason why the care and the management of the soil makes such a big difference, and it requires a number of very specific skills.
I have also found out that the size of each bubble is an important quality indicator; the smallest the better. Sugar is another important element; the Paillard Maison uses as little sugar as possible in order to respect the principle of the purity of champagne. Each bottle carries its disgorging date. The disgorging process is about extracting sediments that have accumulated during the fermentation process. The dosage (sugar addition) process takes place before final corking.
There are a number of interesting information about the universe of champagne.
Labels provide an immediate value to each bottle. Each design represents the reproduction of works of art that have been selected by Bruno Paillard himself. We have tasted millésime that belong to two different categories: Brut Assemblage Millésime and Brut Blanc de Blancs Millésime. The first one is made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes coming from a mixture of different lands, while the second one is made with Chardonnay grapes coming from specific lands.
The night ended with a delicious dinner prepared by the starred chef Alessandro Gilmozzi.
I highly suggest to visit Baita Gardonè if you happen to be in the Fiemme Valley area. If you don’t have too much free time, I suggest you to follow the same path followed by my fellow press colleagues; we left the Resort Ganischgerhof (breathtaking rooms and an impeccable service), in order to experience a lovely walk along the Latemarium trail. Enjoy this easy and light walk path across this enchanting natural landscape – which has been recognized as Unesco World Heritage. You can stop for a quick bite at Platzl Mountain Lounge Obereggen (you can’t miss sweet canederli; they are just delicious). The Baita Gardonè is located less than half an hour away from here. Don’t forget: a good glass of Bruno Paillard champagne is the best way to end up such a lovely day.