Perfect Holiday Bubbles From a Well-Known House

Today’s Story: Billecart-Salmon

Billecart-Salmon is a family-run Champagne house established in 1818 in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ through the marriage of Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon. Nicolas François, who handled the commercial aspects of the new Champagne house, brought his brother-in-law Louis Salmon on board to make the wines. 200 years later, the 7th generation of the Billecart family manages the house with the 6th generation still very much involved. Together they cultivate 100 hectares of vineyards across 40 crus of Champagne and an area of 300 hectares, the majority of which sits around Epernay. Billecart’s signature style comes largely from their fermentation process, which is accomplished in stainless steel tanks at lower temperatures to prolong fermentation and coax out delicate aromas and purity of fruit. All vinification occurs cru by cru and variety by variety, allowing each to maintain the unique expressions of the varying terroir. The house’s wines rest in chalk cellars dating to the 17th and 19th centuries, with the NV bottlings enjoying 3-4 years in the cellar and the vintage bottlings enjoying 10 years.

Last fall, I enjoyed reviewing their NV Champagne Brut Réserve.

Today’s Wine: NV Brut Sous Bois

1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Pinot Meunier; 12% ABV

The NV Brut Sous Bois is medium gold in color with delicate effervescence in the glass. Aromas are of medium intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of green apple, underripe pear, lemon curd, brioche, cheese rind, almond, and saline minerality. Flavors are also of medium intensity, with the palate displaying notes of pear, green apple, lemon and lime zest, chalk, almond, lightly salted butter, and vanilla cream. This dry Champagne is medium- to full-bodied with high acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $80. I think this offers good value for its price-point, as it demonstrates solid depth, great acidity, and a lingering finish. This no doubt can strike up with some of the large houses priced higher, and it also drinks incredibly well compared to some of my favorite grower Champagnes in a similar price-point.

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