Billecart Salmon Champagne Tasting at WWWB

Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 07:30 PM

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The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love, like being enlivened with champagne.
Samuel Johnson

 

Although we have a good selection of all the major champagne labels and one of my favorite statements to make about Champagne today is that "there is no BAD Champagne", there are a lot of great small producers’ wines now available in the U.S.  One of the first smaller producers that we began touting in the store was Billecart-Salmon.  I remember when Wine Watch was one of the only places in South Florida that you could find this brand!

Champagne is a very competitive wine producing region and the standards here are very high across the board, but if there is one Champagne house that would be on the short list of every major Champagne critic on the planet today- Billecart-Salmon would be one of the first names that comes to my mind.

So, I was delighted to hear Clément Calleja from Champagne Billecart Salon will be here on Thursday October 18th and we put this event together as quickly as we could.  I included every wine from Billecart that we have in the store including the Grand Cuvee and the Cuvee St Hilaire both from the outstanding 1996 vintage!  And this tasting along with dinner is less than ½ the price of the Cuvee St. Hilliare!!  There are only 12 spaces available for this tasting and the price is $150 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

 

Don’t forget to check out the big Bottles of Billecart Salmon Champagnes that are available after the dinner announcement on this e-mail.  We love large format bottles and these are here just in time for the holidays.

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Billecart Salmon Champagne Tasting with special guest Clément Calleja
Thursday, October 18, 2018
7:30 PM

Image result for NV Billecart Salmon Reserve Brut Champagne

NV Billecart Salmon Reserve Brut Champagne
Price: $60.00    Your Price: $52.80

(91 Points) This bright Champagne is sleek and mouthwatering, with tightly knit flavors of glazed apricot, biscuit, nectarine and verbena. Clean-cut and lacy on the finish. Drink now through 2018.  Wine Spectator

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NV Billecart Salmon Rose Brut Champagne
Price: $96.00       Sale $84.48

(93 Point) A lovely rosé in an almost vinous style, with mouthwatering acidity and a fine, lacy mousse carrying appealing flavors of ripe raspberry, white cherry fruit, star anise, mandarin orange peel and honeysuckle. Lightly chalky on the lasting finish. Enjoy with food. Drink now through 2020.  Wine Spectator

Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut NV

NV Billecart Salmon Extra Brut Champagne
Price: $72.00    Your Price: $63.36

Launched last year crisp green apple and hints of fresh biscuit and Brut Reserve the same blend 1 more year on the lees base 2005, 2004 and 2003 vintage wines no dosage residual here is 1.3. A very tangy style with a long zesty finish, tongue tingly minerality this wine was made at the request of famous chefs around the world there are some older reserve wines added to the cuvee to make it a bit rounder and fuller on the palate, has laser like acidity and a long complex finish. Finish 45 Excellent

Image result for NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois Champagne

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois Champagne
Price: $95.00    Your Price: $83.60

(95 points) Fermented and aged briefly in wood, this is dry, intense and toasty while still giving space for white fruits and some citrus. Richly endowed, spicy, and tangy, its structure and tight texture mark it out as a Champagne for long-term aging. The aftertaste is brisk, packed with acidity and with reminiscences of the oak-aging in the vanilla finish. (RV) (12/2016)  Wine Enthusiast

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2007 Billecart Salmon Brut Champagne
Price: $87.00    Your Price: $76.56

(94 points) Chef de cave Florent Nys calls 2007 'the www vintage: wind, warmth and water'. The balance of all three was just right to ensure top-quality fruit at harvest. This is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay with 4g/l dosage. So although this is an extra brut style, the 5% vinification in oak casks, 10 years on its lees, and partial malolactic fermentation gives a creamy, toasty edge to the focussed palate. With flavours of hazelnut praline, lifted florals and real purity of peachy citrus, this is a complex, vinous Champagne that needs time to shine. (TG) (5/2018) Decanter

Image result for 2002 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Vintage Brut Champagne

2002 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Vintage Brut Champagne
Price: $222.00    Your Price: $195.36

(98 points) Always the finest wine of the house, now rightly promoted as their prestige cuvée. A luminous gold colour with green tints indicates how youthful this still is. It is hard to do justice to its very high quality - latent power and density without heaviness, and supreme finesse. Brillant with wood-roasted turbot. One of the greatest wines of a great year. (ME) (2/2017)  Decanter

Image result for Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Grand Cru

Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Grand Cru
Price: $90.00       Sale $79.20

(93 Points) Blended from fruit grown in several grand cru villages of the Côte des Blancs, with an emphasis on Avize, this is a beautiful green-gold color, a wine fragrant with scents of spring flowers. It balances full-bodied richness with racy acidity, both expansive and mineral-tight. It finishes on a scent that brings to mind oyster shells, and calls out for a dozen freshly shucked Belons. Wine & Spirits

Image result for 1996 Billecart Salmon Grande Cuvee Brut Champagne

1996 Billecart Salmon Grande Cuvee Brut Champagne
Price: $270.00    Your Price: $237.60          Quantity in Stock: 3

This is one of the greatest Champagnes that I have ever tasted with a full range of toasted almond fresh dough and ginger spice aromas to the pear and lemon citrus fruit on the nose. Lovely creamy mousse on the palate with incredible intensity on the finish opening from the center out on the tongue, complex but not at all over the top still exceptionally well balanced and fresh through the finish. Finish 45+ KILLER

Since its first release in 1982, the Billecart Salmon Grand Cuvee has revealed all its character to a following of informed wine lovers. This great wine, produced from the finest sites of selected grands crus, comes into its own after spending 10 years in the 200 year old chalk cellars of Billecart Salmon. This cuvee is a blend of exclusively Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Grand Cru rated vineyards.

Image result for 1996 Billecart Salmon Brut Champagne Cuvee St Hilaire

1996 Billecart Salmon Brut Champagne Cuvee St Hilaire
Price: $475.00    Your Price: $418.00

(96 points)  Billecart-Salmon’s 1996 Le Clos Saint-Hilaire has lost some of its youthful exuberance and the fruit now is a touch softer than it was a few years ago. The aromatics and overall balance remain seductive and utterly compelling. To gain perspective, I tasted this next to Bollinger’s Vielles Vignes Francaises and Krug’s Clos d’Ambonnay. The Clos Saint-Hilaire is the most delicate, ethereal of the three, while the VVF is the darkest and most brooding, purely vinous of the wines. The Clos d’Ambonnay stands out for its laser-like minerality and intensity. It is likely to be the longest-lived of these three Blanc de Noirs.  In the Cellar #1110, Nov 2010

 

 

Menu

Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie
Shoestring potatoes with lemon gremolata
Baby Potato filled with American Sturgeon Caviar
Salmon Carpaccio with grapefruit citrus segments and Elderberry Aioli
Chicken Kiev with Champagne Béarnaise Sauce

 

The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $150 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

 

A bit about Champagne Billecart Salmon:

 

Billecart-Salmon is presently one of France's top Champagne houses - a fact that one would never learn from reading books (where it gets bare mention except in Serena Sutcliffe's new book, Champagne) or from inquiring with wine merchants - many of whom have still not yet heard of it.  This Champagne house is one of the great undiscovered properties in France; and this, my friend, is your little secret!...a least for the present.  Billecart-Salmon has found a following in the United States among serious wine connoisseurs, and its Champagnes have been lavishly praised in the pages of respected wine publications such as The Underground Wine Journal and The Wine Advocate.  The editor of the latter, Robert Parker, in his book Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide says:  "One cannot say too many good things about this small house that produces wonderfully light, elegant yet flavorful champagnes.  In every one of my tastings, Billecart has shown exceptionally well."  We might add that this Champagne is a selection of the inimitable Robert Chadderdon of New York, a broker and importer.  Chadderdon's fastidious reputation and obsession for quality is so renowned that a consumer may regard any wine labeled a "Robert Chadderdon Selection" as being accompanied by an ironclad guarantee of authenticity and quality.

Although the Billecarts resided in Champagne from the 16th century, it was not until 1818 that Nicolas-François of that family entered the Champagne business.  The Salmon part of the name came from Francis' wife, the former Elizabeth Salmon.  Within several years the firm gained an excellent reputation, and growth was very rapid.  However, financial ineptness in the 1830's led to a decline in the business which the succeeding generations of the family were not able to correct.  Charles Roland-Billecart assumed control of the firm in 1917 at what could not have been a worse time.  The business was near financial ruin, World War I was being conducted in their very vineyards, and shortly after the war the world market for Champagne literally collapsed as the new Soviet Republic banned it as "bourgeois" and the nations of Western Europe were mired in the aftermath of the most devastating conflict mankind had ever known.  Nevertheless, Charles steadily increased the fortunes of the firm and made a crucial and, no doubt, emotionally painful decision in 1926 to sell the family vineyards in order to achieve further growth and put Billecart-Salmon on a solid financial footing.  In retrospect it turned out to be a wise decision, and today Billecart-Salmon enjoys the success it once knew in its earliest days.

The fact that Billecart-Salmon is able to produce exceptional Champagne while relying on the favor of independent growers (the firm owns only a few vines of Pinot Noir at Mareuil-sur-Aÿ) is a tribute to the firm's commitment to quality and the obvious winemaking skills practiced there.  So hardfast is the resolve of Billecart-Salmon to produce only the best that they cut their production in half from 1978 to 1982.  The harvests of 1978, 1980, and 1982 were lean years; and Billecart-Salmon did not want to gamble on purchasing grapes from new suppliers with whom they were unfamiliar, so production was cut back from 600,000 bottles to 300,000 bottles.  Production in 1986 was back up to 450,000 bottles with nearly half exported and the United States at the top of that list.  The firm buys cuvées from as many as twenty-five different growths and performs the complex task of blending to achieve a delicate, fragrant house style that is loaded with flavor.  The high percentage of black grapes in their cuvées belies the extraordinary lightness and delicacy for which Billecart-Salmon is noted.  We have sometimes mistaken their wines for those of Taittinger - a firm which employs a heavy percentage of white grapes in their cuvées.  Because there is a great deal of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in Billecart blends, the wines have a great depth of flavor and are also capable of longevity.  Besides the non-vintage Brut, Billecart-Salmon is noted for its exquisite vintage-dated Blanc de Blancs (it is made from 100% Chardonnay and vineyards rated 99 to 100%).  Billecart Salmon's tour de force, however, is the extraordinary non-vintage Rosé.  We believe that this salmon-colored beauty is one of France's two or three best Rosé Champagnes.   Rosé represents ten percent of Billecart's total production - an unusually high percentage for a Champagne house (although we believe that increasingly higher percentages are the future trend).  Billecart-Salmon describes their special pink Champagne as the  "blanc de blancs of rosés" - a perfect description of the Billecart style. 

 

Big Bottles of Billecart!!

 

NV Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne 3 Liter
Price: $337.50    Your Price: $297.00          Quantity in Stock: 1

Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne Magnum NV
Price: $127.50    Your Price: $112.20

NV Billecart Salmon Rose Brut Champagne 3 Liter
 Price: $435.00    Your Price: $382.80         Quantity in Stock: 1

NV Billecart Salmon Rose Brut Champagne MAGNUM
Price: $198.00    Your Price: $174.24