The 2002 NPU – Nec Plus Ultra Extra Brut, a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir exclusively from grand cru villages, has a golden color and opens with a beautifully complex and refined bouquet of matured fruit and iodine flavors. Fermented and aged entirely in small oak barrels (pièces) for ten months and then ten years on the lees in bottle, this has lovely oxidation, ripeness and depth. Very pure and fine but wide, highly complex and elegant on the palate, the 2002 NPU combines the famous freshness of the vintage with the complexity of the composition and the bottle aging. The finish is very long, tight, rich and complex but stimulatingly dry, pure and mineral. This is a great Champagne to be enjoyed today or over the next few decades. Total production: 6,200 bottles, plus 300 magnums. The wine I tasted in October 2017 in Hamburg with Bruno Paillard was disgorged in September 2014 and aged another two years in the cellar before it went into the markets.
97 points, Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (Nov 2017)
Vibrant and expressive, with distinctive aromas and flavors of gingerbread, baked white peach, singed orange peel and crystallized honey, carried on the plush and creamy mousse. An opulent version that's firm and focused, with beautiful balance and a long, graceful finish. Disgorged September 2014. Drink now through 2029. 550 cases made.
96 points, Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator (Nov 2017)
While wise Champagne collectors will have stored their 2002s, there are few wines left in the market from this astonishing vintage. Bruno Paillard waited to release his top cuvée until this year, the wine just beginning to transition from freshness to maturity, carrying the scent of a bushel basket filled with apples that only grow more fragrant as they rest into the fall. Its pale gold color is deepening with age, as are its delicate rose spice, scents of honeysuckle and creamy flavors of pear, all intertwined, each note playing off the energy of the others so the wine reverberates with complexity. The brisk freshness sustains those flavors over the course of several days, suggesting this has a long life ahead.
96 points, Wine & Spirits (Dec 2017)