Grape(s): 60% Pinot noir, 40% Chardonnay
Localization: Côte des Blancs, Champagne, France
Tasting Notes: Its vinification, partially in traditional oak casks, underpins the generous character of this fine, elegant and rich wine. A beautiful golden yellow, glinting with bright sparkles. The glittering, crystalline appearance is set off by an eruption of finely chiseled bubbles. A balanced tension is achieved by the blossoming of the wine (peaches in syrup, fine apple tart, and mountain butter) and embodied in the noble flavors that follow (fresh fig and wild berries). It combines all the richness of an aromatic curve, both complex and refreshing. Intense, fine notes of orchard fruits, associated with the character of stone fruits (Mirabelle plum and sweet cherry) and accentuated by the burst of a long floral note (hawthorn). This tense and mineral vintage, characterized by an elegant vinosity, offers you all the distinction of a well-aged Champagne.
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: Disgorged with six grams per liter dosage, this Brut Cuvée Nicolas François is showing very nicely, offering up aromas of fresh bread, citrus oil, crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers, verbena, macadamia nut and hints of biscuity complexity to come. Full-bodied, chiseled but fleshy, its vinous core of fruit cloaks the vintage's brisk acids to achieve real plenitude in a year that's sometimes rather tautly austere. Long and penetrating and complemented by a pretty pinpoint mousse, this is a real success.
Food pairing: Served at cellar temperature (11° to 12°), this cuvée will reveal the flavors of a Bresse roast chicken or a delicious milk-fed veal chop with chanterelle mushrooms.
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.