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Champagne Billecart-Salmon oozes elegance and class. This 200-year-old estate occupies a very special middle ground: much smaller than the big houses like Veuve and Moet, yet large enough to command a global following among “in-the-know” jet-setters who want a more boutique luxury experience. Billecart’s focus on every detail of the farming and winemaking lends an air of authenticity to the stylish glamor of their label. The bottles are beautiful, and the wine is profound. Sadly, there has been a global supply shortage for several years, and this is the first time in a long time that we have enough to offer. But boy, what an offer it is! Vintage Champagne, aged on the lees for almost 8 years, from an iconic estate for $100... you know the drill: act fast!
Billecart-Salmon was born in 1818, when Nicolas François Billecart married Elisabeth Salmon. For seven (going on eight) generations, this house has been owned and operated by the same family—a true rarity among the established maisons in this world-famous region. Based in the village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, the current proprietor is Mathieu Roland-Billecart. The family farms 100 hectares of their own vines, supported by another 100+ hectares from growers across 40 different cru villages. Rosé is a focus for Billecart, and as such, Pinot Noir is generally the dominant grape (though they do make an excellent blanc de blancs), and that is exactly the frame which the 2013 vintage release is built upon.
Like all of Billecart’s vintage releases, the fruit for this extra classy cuvée comes predominantly from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards (at least 85%) that are located in the Champagne’s most prestigious regions: Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, and Vallée de la Marne. The house style, focusing on purity of fruit, soft effervescence, and bright minerality, is showing in spades. The pedigree is impeccable. This is the type of Champagne that would be very much at home on a Mediterranean yacht, yet also fits right in with the crowd at a bespoke vintage clothing store or a gallery opening. But as always, for us at SommSelect, it is the quality of wine in the bottle that matters most: That is why we are delighted to offer this vinous gem today.
The higher percentage of Pinot is readily apparent on the nose, where wild blueberries and spiced cherries mingle among notes of lemon peel, stone fruit, white flowers, and fresh-baked pastry. We recommend serving vintage Champagne a little less cold, at around 45 degrees, and in an all-purpose wine glass or even a Burgundy stem, especially given the Pinot Noir focus. With 89 months (!) of lees aging, there is plenty of texture and depth that culminates in a long, salty, mineral-driven finish. The interplay of bright fruit, zippy acidity, and a delicate mousse will please any party-goer, but the gastronomic potential of this extra-brut beauty is endless. Fried chicken or sashimi would be splendid, or you can serve at a special brunch alongside truffled eggs benedict. It is a fantastic wine to open now, but you could cellar it for many years too; given that the price is far below wines of similar quality and class, we think you should stock up for all upcoming special occasions!
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