Billecart-Salmon is a well known, mid sized house located in the quiet village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, in Champagne.
Founded in 1818 by the marriage of Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, the house has retained its family heritage and is today managed by François and Antoine Roland-Billecart, who work under the watchful eye of their father; Jean Roland-Billecart.
Billecart-Salmon’s fame lies in its great attention to detail when making champagne, with much investment placed in vinification (wine making) processes. The reputation of finesse in its wines far belies the house’s marketing spend – the silver and black labelled dark brown bottles being well known to regular drinkers as a symbol of quality. Indeed – the house only makes around 2 million bottles per year – not exactly high volume stuff when compared to Moet or Piper, for instance.
Despite the low volumes, Billecart enjoys a great reach to far markets and enjoys a cult following – it’s not uncommon to find their bottles listed on hatted restaurant menus or stocked in the local bottle shop.
Where does it’s NV stand against other well-known houses at its entry price point ($70)? Let’s take a look.
From: Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: ~$70 a bottle available from most liquor stores
Blend Ratio (%): Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier (30/30/40)
Aging: 3 Years
Sipped: End of 2016
In the Glass:
Look: Straw yellow hue, with great fine bubbles.
Smell: A complex nose of yeasty and fungal notes, laced with fruit notes of citrus, faint pineapple and ripe pears.
Taste: A sip of Brut Reserve produces a hit of honeyed sweetness reflective of a wine that has had a good amount of aging. This clears to a sharper profile of tangy grapefruits, smaller citrus and jams – all while being softly sour.
It is quite well balanced with light acidity but the tartness of the flavour is not everyones cup of tea.
Sits well with a small savory offering. In my case this was Pizza Shapes which it paired with awesomely.
Party Potential: It is a bit more expensive as a NV champagne than regular runners Moet, Mumm and Piper, however the quality is better than at least 2 of those. If you value your guests this is a good means to impress them by offering something a bit more boutique. As a BYO party plonk Billecart reflects knowledge of Champagnes over brand savvy.
As a Gift: Billecart is great, safe option champagne that show you took a bit of time in your selection – I would recommend hunting it down when it goes on sale (around $65 per bottle – Veuve pricing).
At Home: Billecart Brut Reserve is a versatile drink – strong enough for parties, outings etc. – but cane be used at home for special occasions.
Matching: A tart, citrus driven Champagne like this is matched well with salty items – but in my instance the humble pizza shapes were a great pairing.
Score & Verdict:
A tres-chic, stylish number with good family values. Likes being understatedly classy and is a nice companion to take to all kind of parties and events – but be cautious of other trying to steal them away.
At $70 I feel it is decent value for the quality.
How did I drink it?
Quiet New Years eve drinks with family.
How did you drink it?
And how did you find it? Let me know!
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