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Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
  • JS92
  • W&S91
  • WS91
  • WW91
  • V90
  • WE90
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Winemaker Notes

Fine bubbles which rise slowly, persistent mousse. Straw-colored. A nose of ripe pear with some touches of cut hay. Full fruit, but clean in the mouth. This cuvée contains 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. All wines from the best sites in the department of the Marne, from more than twenty top vineyards in Champagne. The overall composition of this cuvée has not changed much for almost fifty years.

Fresh and long tasting, the Brut Réserve may be drunk on all occasions.

Critical Acclaim

JS 92
James Suckling

This has impressive ripe stone fruits on the nose with peaches, mangoes, melon and cherries. Really upbeat and attractive purity. The palate follows the same thread of fruit characters with a clever balance of flesh and crunch, a bright finish and good balance. Drink now. A blend of roughly equal thirds of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier.

W&S 91
Wine & Spirits

This blend includes 40 percent pinot meunier, the balance equal parts pinot noir and chardonnay. Its remarkable fruitiness might be tied to the firm’s long, slow, cool fermentations, which, they believe, allow meunier to maintain its perfume. This is a graceful, vinous Champagne with dramatic high notes of roses and red fruit, finishing clean with a grounding of pale earthiness. It’s a lovely prediction of what Champagne might become in a warming climate.

WS 91
Wine Spectator

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.

WW 91
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com

A most satisfying brut, the non-vintage Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve does a great job in coating the palate with the sense of refreshment; plenty rich on the palate, with apple and other core fruits; dry in the finish. This looks like a superior main entree wine.

V 90
Vinous / Antonio Galloni

Light, bright gold. Fresh red berries, orange zest and white flowers on the perfumed nose. Juicy and precise, offering energetic redcurrant and blood orange flavors that show good concentration and a supple texture. A mineral nuance adds bite to the finish, with the floral note echoing.

WE 90
Wine Enthusiast

In the crisp, balanced style of the producer, this nonvintage Champagne is light, poised and elegant. It is satisfyingly mature with good acidity and minerality. Lively and perfumed, it is ready to drink. Editors' Choice.

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Billecart-Salmon

Billecart-Salmon

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Billecart-Salmon, , France - Other regions
Billecart-Salmon
The Billecart family has been living in Mareuil-sur-Ay since the 16th century. When Nicolas Francois Billecart married Elisabeth Salmon in the early 1800s the two families' long held vineyards were married as well. This led to Nicolas' decision to leave his law practice and take over the family wine estate. In 1818 he founded the house of Billecart-Salmon which now stands as the oldest continuously family owned and operated house in Champagne. It is currently managed by the seventh generation, brothers Francois and Antoine Roland-Billecart. The cellars are in the hands of renowned "chef de cave" Francois Domi.

Billecart-Salmon owns a total of 15 hectares of vineyards. Eleven of these are in the Vallee de la Marne split between 4ha of Grand Cru in Ay and Premier Cru in Mareuil-sur-Ay and 7ha in the village of Damery. In the Cote des Blancs the family owns 4ha of Grand Cru vineyards in the villages of Chouilly, Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. With respect to harvest one of the most distinctive aspects of Billecart-Salmon is their philosophy that an early harvest yields more elegant and delicate champagnes. They look for a strong acid structure rather than alcohol as a preservative and therefore, never harvest at higher than 10 degrees of potential alcohol.

Another defining characteristic of Billecart-Salmon is their practice of double cold settling which they began in 1952. This involves a primary cold settling of the pressed juice for a period of 12 hours whereby the heaviest of the must solids fall to the bottom. The juice is then racked into clean tanks where it is chilled down to 2C for another 48 hours. This second and much colder settling eliminates any wild yeasts and additional heavy elements without the use of enzymes, filtering or a centrifuge. After the second racking, fermentation is initiated by adding dried yeasts and maintained at a long slow pace for up to 5 weeks in order to preserve as many delicate fruit aromas as possible. One varietal that benefits greatly from this is Pinot Meunier which the Billecarts believe is a vital component in world class champagnes. Many producers shy away from Meunier because it is easy to burn off its delicate aromas during fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is allowed to occur but may be blocked in certain years if the vintage conditions warrant it. Since 1987 the family has been making a certain percentage of the wines for their vintage cuvee champagnes in barrel. In these instances malolactic fermentation is always blocked.

As of 2001, Billecart-Salmon moved their winemaking into a brand new facility that they believe to be the most technically advanced in Champagne. The intricate and precise nature of Francois Domi's winemaking demanded that the family use every available resource to create the perfect environment for the production of these truly stellar champagnes. The ability to perform as many as 75 micro-fermentations simultaneously allows M. Domi the luxury of keeping many of his parcels separate until the blending phase. Overall, production levels are modest and many of Billecart-Salmon's prestige cuvees are highly allocated. Speak to your salesperson directly for availability.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles...

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

Semillon

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A shy but noble variety with considerable structure, depth, and length...

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A shy but noble variety with considerable structure, depth, and length, beneath Sémillon’s aloof exterior lays a singular, uncompromising white with the power and intensity to create wines that can last and improve for several decades. It is the perfect partner to tame Sauvignon Blanc's wild side in its most important outpost of Bordeaux. Sémillon especially shines in Sauternes, one of the world’s greatest sweet wines, with highly concentrated flavors of honey and dried apricots. While Sémillon is not the most fashionable grape in the rest of the wine world, it has had great success in Australia, where it can produce elegant, complex dry wines.

In the Glass

Sémillon is most notable for its oily texture and significant palate weight. In youthful dry wines, it expresses subtle aromas of lemon, green apple, pear, and stone fruit. Aged or sweet Sémillon wines show more complex character of lanolin, beeswax, honeysuckle, ginger, saffron, vanilla, or toast.

Perfect Pairings

Thanks to its moderate acidity, this fairly full-bodied wine can stand up to pretty boldly flavored food. Think lightly spiced Asian or Indian white meat or fish dishes, or anything with cinnamon, clove, or star anise. It’s also great with autumnal vegetables like kabocha squash, yam, or potato. Botrytised Sémillon, as in Sauternes, is a perfectly decadent pairing with foie gras.

Sommelier Secret

Sémillon was once the most common variety in South Africa—so common, in fact, that in 1822, when 93% of the country’s vineyard area was planted with it, it was simply referred to as Wyndruif, or “wine grape.”

CHMblt10010nv_0 Item# 29135

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