2004 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Vintage Champagne
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(50% pinot noir and 50% chardonnay; disgorged April, 2013): Bright yellow. Pungent redcurrant, pear skin and anise aromas, along with notes of smoky minerals and chamomile. Sappy poached pear and buttered toast flavors are braced by zesty blood orange and ginger, picking up a honeysuckle nuance with air. Shows impressive clarity and punch on the finish, which features dusty mineral and cherry pit qualities.
I find 2004 to be the most collectable of all vintages in current release because it represents a rare event- an old fashioned classic vintage. The last harvest in Champagne to have consistent, cool, long hang time growing conditions like this was 1988, and we haven't seen another one since 2004. That is two "classic" harvests in 25 years... and counting! This wine is composed of half Chardonnay from the Motellettes parcel planted in 1961 and half Les Maillerettes plot planted in 1970. It is dosed at only 3.5g/l and comes across as very dry but not at all austere due to the fantastic concentration of the old vines. The aroma is full of brioche, savory red fruit and cool sea air. This Champagne shows very young on the palate for its age but has a natural richness and authority that makes it fine for now, and better for the future. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)