Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut 2008
This is a champagne full of brightness and purity. A visual intensity of pale gold, enhanced by the clarity of a pure and sparkling ensemble. With ultra-fine, regular and plentiful bubbles which are focussed towards the surface of the glass in a disciplined manner. A well balanced and nicely rounded lightly sparkling sensation is strengthed by a captivating gustatory trajectory (white flesh fruits, lime trees and almond cream.
A new definition of a refined style, it will surprise you in its complicity with the finest food and wine pairings: a veal carpaccio, ceviche, grilled scallops and citrus marinated sashimi.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A blend of 65% Pinot Noir consisting of Premier and Grand Crus from the Montagne de Reims and the Vallee de la Marne and 35% Chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs. Significantly, this has nine years ageing on its lees (longer than some Prestige Cuvees), the 2008 was first released onto the global market back in March 2019. With an Extra Brut dosage of 4g/l, this is a highly expressive, confident and convincing interpretation of the vintage. Right now, it is youthfully sharp and focused with fine salinity, depth, acidity and balance, and as such is already extremely approachable. The flavour spectrum encompasses toast, oyster shell, citrus, cream and a flinty, mineral depth. There’s supreme balance and elegance here, combined with a hidden underlying power that will continue to emerge and broaden with time. The finish is dry and long.
Building on the structured Pinot Noir, often a hallmark of this producer's Champagnes, this wine is densely textured and full of white fruits from the Chardonnay. Still young, it remains on the fruit spectrum so wait until 2021 for the full glory of the maturity to come through.
A graceful Champagne that swathes the palate in a fine and creamy mousse, carrying flavors of baked blackberry, lemon meringue pie and chopped almond. Vibrant acidity creates a mouthwatering impression on the minerally finish.
Disgorged with four grams per liter dosage, the 2008 Extra Brut Vintage hasn't appreciably evolved since I last tasted it. Offering up pretty aromas of honeycomb, crisp green apple, white flowers and fresh pastry, it's medium to full-bodied, tensile and incisive, with a tightly wound core, racy acids and an elegant pinpoint mousse. I wouldn't open bottles from my own cellar for another five years, as this is evolving at a glacial pace.
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.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.