Grape(s): 40% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 27% Pinot Meunier
Localization: Côte des Blancs, Champagne, France
Tasting Notes: An ideal blend allowing the personality of the Champagne region’s great Pinot Noirs to dominate, combined with the elegance and subtlety of Chardonnays and that signature touch of Pinot Meunier. The yellow color has soft golden undertones, naturally enhanced by a fine, dynamic effervescence. A shining, very radiant effect that brings out the full potential of nine years of maturation in our ancestral chalk cellars. The delicious intensity of precise fruit with citrusy and nutty notes (grapefruit pulp, slivered almonds). A nuanced sensory development built around pastry scents (raw butter, white fruit jelly). A masterful aromatic expression with a refined, refreshing purity.
A nervy, charming, tactile delight (chestnut cream, fresh blueberries, and shortbread), emphasized by a delicate texture. The wine rises to a distinguished complexity with a persistent finale, crisply structured by the high-quality potential of such a sought-after vintage. A deeply sculpted vintage with a noble, exquisitely distinctive character.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: Disgorged with two grams per liter dosage, Billecart-Salmon's Extra Brut Vintage is more giving and demonstrative than its 2008 counterpart, offering up inviting aromas of crisp stone fruit, yellow apple, brioche, honeycomb and warm pastry. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, with a pillowy mousse and a generous core of fruit girdled by bright acids, it's seamless and complete. Indeed, such is its charm and persistence that I tend to prefer it, at least for now, to the 2008.
Food pairing: Enjoy to the fullest with red tuna, papaya, and avocado, or with pan-fried foie gras, peaches, verbena, rhubarb, and verjuice (prematurely harvested grape juice).
The Domain: Oldest continuously family-owned House, Billecart-Salmon was founded in 1818 by the marriage of Nicolas Francois Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon. For over two hundred years, the House has developed renowned expertise in crafting fine, elegant and balanced Champagnes.
Billecart-Salmon was first and foremost the result a union between Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon who, in 1818 and just married, founded their own Champagne House in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, a small village near Epernay. At their side was Louis Salmon, Elisabeth’s brother and a passionate oenologist who, from the very beginning, dedicated himself to the development of the wines. From then on, their heirs have never stopped aiming for excellence in winemaking. Today led by seventh-generation Mathieu Roland-Billecart, each family member has endeavored to pursue the family tradition and stay faithful to the same motto: "give priority to quality, strive for excellence."
Billecart-Salmon rigorously cultivates an estate of 100 hectares, sourcing grapes from an area totaling 300 hectares across 40 crus of the Champagne region.
The majority of the grapes used for vinification come from a radius of 20km around Epernay, where the Grand Crus of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay co-exist, in the vineyards of the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs.
As part of the quest to increase the quality of their champagnes, in the 1950s, the House introduced the technique of cold settling combined with the use of stainless steel tanks for a longer fermentation at a lower temperature. Vinification occurs primarily on small thermoregulated tanks which allows the House to vinify parcels separately, preserving nuances of the expression of "terroir". Low-temperature fermentation slows down the process, encouraging aromas to delicately develop and allow the purity of the fruit to be fully expressed; absolute signature of the Billecart-Salmon style: finesse, elegance and balance.
Over three years of aging on lees in the chalk cellars for the non-vintage cuvees and over ten years for the prestige vintage cuvees, the family allows their wines to blossom. Giving the luxury of time to play its role is also behind the grandeur of Billecart-Salmon champagnes.