Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Brut 2002
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Very impressive depth and detail here. The freshness is staggering. Citrus and grilled-hazelnut aromas lead to a palate that has a very concentrated, slightly creamy and taut feel. Super long and dense with lemon curd, white peaches and a toasty build to the finish. Superb! Drink or hold.
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.
The 2002 Brut Cuvée Nicolas François was disgorged in January 2015 with four grams per liter dosage, and it's showing superbly, wafting from the glass with a complex bouquet that mingles confit citrus, peach and dried papaya with nuances of iodine, brioche and honeycomb. On the palate, it's full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a rich and layered core that's underpinned by serious structure and tension, concluding with a long and precise finish. This is one of the finest wines Billecart has released in the last decade, and it is well worth seeking out.
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 a 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 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 ageing on lees in the chalk cellars for the non-vintage cuvees and over ten year 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.