A Toast to France’s Women in Wine: An Invitation for #Winophiles on #ValentinesDay for #WHM

Bruno Paillard

Today we celebrate Valentine’s Day. A day where we pop corks and toast the ones we love. Well, around here, on Wine Predator, we love women in wine, and today, we toast Alice Paillard, daughter of Bruno Paillard, who is a key member of Champagne Bruno Paillard and who I met via ZOOM in December 2021. In fact, we love Women in Wine so much, we are inviting Winophiles to write about one or more women in wine for Women’s History Month for the March 19, 2021 #Winophiles! Scroll down for all the details! 


Only a handful of independent, family-owned houses remain in Champagne. Bruno Paillard turned over day to day management to daughter Alice Paillard who serves as CEO. Growing up in a Champagne house like Bruno Paillard was mysterious and fun, and Alice Paillard loved it:

“Going down to the wine cellar was like digging out treasures. The way you bring it up top and wait for hours.”

This led her to have “respect for the work of the wine, whoever made it, and nourished it.” Fifteen years ago, Alice joined the team, and in 2019, she took over management. While her father has technically retired, he still is around to guide her, and help her with the final blends: “I’m very privileged to pick up the phone. He’s not out of the game. He’s not the type to retire.” Her father’s experience is available to her, and working together? “It’s a pleasure.”  

Alice Paillard Zoom

“It’s so important to talk about the origin of grapes,” says Alice Paillard in a press release. “The real question is not ‘Are you a grower or are you a House?’ It’s ‘Are you there for the long-term? Are you taking care of the soil, the vineyard?’” 

Champagne Paillard uses both estate grown and purchased grapes from 35 terroirs for “a rich palette of grapes for the best blend,” she says in a. ZOOM interview.  Vines grown on chalky soils have a “more joyful expression of Pinot Noir,” explains Alice. Pinot Noir also gives body and structure while Chardonnay brings finesse and elegance, but she urged “never mention character of the grape without discussing its origin.” 

“I don’t want to spend time and energy on things that don’t last. Instead, I look ahead and ask: ‘Is it meaningful, and what does it bring?’ she says in a press release. “I’m proud of what we do.”

There are many ways that Champagne Paillard makes a distinct bottle of bubbles, worthy of a special occasion. Alice’s father Bruno Paillard was the first person to put the disgorgement date on the bottle “when he realized how impactful it was” especially “important on wines that didn’t carry a vintage.”

With age, “The wine opens its wings more,” says Alice. 

The Champagne progresses from “the age of fruits”, then “the age of flowers”, then “the age of spices”, followed by “the toasted age”, and finally “the candied age” and “the roasted age.”

Read more from my chat with Alice Paillard on ZOOM here.

Champagne Paillard Wines include:

  • Champagne Première Cuvée MV (375ml, 750ml and 1.5L)
  • Champagne Rosé Première Cuvée MV (375ml, 750ml and 1.5L)
  • Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (750ml)Champagne Dosage Zéro MV (750ml)
  • Champagne Assemblage 2008 (750ml and 1.5L)
  • Champagne Blancde Blancs 2006 (750ml)
  • Champagne Brut N.P.U. “Nec Plus Ultra” 2002 and 2003 (750ml and 1.5L)

Looking for a lovely yet simple meal to pair with Champagne for your sweetheart? Try this menu which paired perfectly with the Champagne Paillard! 


  • Fresh Raw Oysters
  • Soul Food Mac n Cheese 
  • Creole Catfish Cakes with a spiced sauce
  • Sauted Greens with garlic and lemon
  • Apple Spiced Bundt Cake 

We developed this menu to go with Black History Month from Eat The Culture. More details and links below. PS You could buy fish cakes but make the sauce! 

I Heart BP

Champagne Bruno Paillard Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

ABV 12% alcohol
SRP $80
Disgorgement August 2019 
Sample for my review 

Color: Platinum, perlage very delicate and fine, and persistent 

Subtle croissant, lemon puff pastry danish, chalky, chamomile 

Light, refreshing, vibrant, delicate, lemon, minerals, long lingering lemon finish

This wine went from the beginning of the meal to then end– ideal for a special evening! 

Oysters. Champagne and sparkling wine is always a perfect pairing; it doesn’t get any better than these two together.   

Soul Food Mac n Cheese. The Mac and cheese had lots of interesting spices that compliment the wine so well while the greens bring out the fruit in the wine. I find it fascinating that Mac and Cheese was developed by James Hemings, an African American enslaved by Thomas Jefferson, who trained as a culinary chef at 19 in France. That’s where he got the idea to create “Macaroni pie” which is a baked mac and cheese where he boiled the noodles in a combination of water and milk and then baked it. Seasonings like dried or powdered garlic, onion, paprika, mustard and a mix of cheeses in this recipe gave it pizzazz that was wonderful with the sparkling wine.

Creole Catfish Cakes with a Pontchartrain sauce. We were thrilled that the fish cakes were fantastic with the wine. The sauce enhances both the dish and the wineOf course, the French strongly influenced the Creole culture, so this is another fun pairing of France  and America– and Voila! It paired so well with the Champagne Paillard! These elevated Fish Cakes are drizzled with Pontchartrain Sauce using African and Cajun flavors to combine the past and the present, and then garnished with greens and shrimp. Read more and find the recipe here. 

Apple Bundt Cake. The spices in the bundt cake and the spiced nut topping are absolutely perfect with the wine. Kathy added spiced pecans to the top of the cake — so good with the Champagne. For dessert with Champagne, avoid sweet. This had just a touch of sweetness which worked well.

Bruno and Bundt

You’re invited to join the French Winophiles during Women’s History Month this March 2022 to toast France’s Women in Wine!

  1. You have a month to find one or more wines from France where a woman plays an important roll.  You can choose a woman from the past or the present. You could even choose a woman who plays an important role in the French wine industry, for example a journalist, researcher, MW, or importer, and feature a wine that they suggest.
  2. The wine can be from any grape in any style– red, white, rose, sparkling, sweet– and from any region in France. 
  3. Sponsored posts and sample wines are fine as long as they are identified as such.
  4. We love to read about the stories behind the wine, how the grapes are grown, your pairings (successes and failures!), any travel to that region of France, or the story behind why you chose this wine, winery, or woman. 
  5. During March, get your title to me by email, comment below, or post in the Facebook event under the title thread before Tuesday 2pm 3/15/22 please. 
  6. From Friday Feb 18 at 8am to Saturday Feb. 19 at 8am please, publish your post and include #Winophiles in the title of your article and add the provided preliminary HTML to link to other participants.
  7. Join our 8am Pacific twitter chat on Sat. March 19 by following the hashtag #Winophiles. Prompts will be posted here in the Preview Post the day before.
  8. Read around, comment, and share each other’s posts about France’s Women in Wine.
  9. As soon as it is available, add the final HTML to your post which links to participants’ published posts.
  10. Have fun and let’s celebrate the women in wine from France!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Cheers to you and your Valentine! 

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