Billecart-Salmon Le Clos Saint Hilaire Brut
The name Billecart-Salmon comes from the joining of two families by the marriage of Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon.
From a 1 hectare clos in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ; planted exclusively to pinot noir since 1964; yielding a minuscule 40–45hL/hectare, less than one bottle per vine; harvested in two passes at full ripeness; two cuvées vinified in situ; fully fermented in oak; zero dosage; just 3500–7500 bottles, only made in top vintages.
An extraordinary one-hectare parcel of pinot noir planted in 1964. Deep golden hue. An extremely rich and majestic nose with savory notes of cocoa, smoked mushroom, forest floor earthiness, grilled hazelnuts, orange marmalade, spiced cherries, plums and spiced bread. Wildly complex! The palate has a languid, toasty core of flavor with a deep warming wash of spices, toasted almonds and grilled hazelnuts. Freshens to dried cherry and plum pastry leading into a smooth and vinous finish. Striking depth and grace. Drinks like an old Burgundy.
98 points, JamesSuckling.com (January 2018)
Located 150 km east of Paris, Champagne is the French wine region renowned for producing the finest, most rich and complex sparkling wines in the world. The elegance, longevity and racy acidity of these wines are attributed to the influence of the chalky soils of the region and the cool, marginal continental climate. The region spans an area of 35,000 ha and has 4 main growing areas, each favouring one of the three noble Champagne varieties; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Champagne has a vineyard quality hierarchy based on the soils, aspect and overall quality of the grapes. Like Burgundy, these quality designations are allocated to the vineyards of the village. Of the 319 villages of Champagne, 17 have Grand Cru status and 44 villages are designated Premier Cru. All Champagne is produced by Traditional Method. The vast majority of Champagne is a blend of the three varieties and may also be a blend of several vintages producing the popular Non Vintage (NV) house styles. Top quality blends from exceptional years are sold as Vintage (Millésime) Champagne.