'Grande Cuvée is no more, but one of the great champagnes of recent times has not gone quietly into the night. Its final vintage just keeps getting better, returning for yet another rousing encore this year. At a full 15 years of age, Grande Cuvée has grown into an iridescent gleam of yellow straw. Its core of white fruits of all kinds remains rock solid, supported by thick orchestral scoring of toasty complexity and reductive, flinty gunpowder. Tightly wound and enchantingly focused, it unravels in freezeframe slow motion to reveal delicate layers of nuance, all the while tightly hugging rails of crystallinepure acidity. It rises on the finish with outstretched magnificence, an epiphany of relentless persistence underlined by consummately finespun, deepset textural presence that froths and foams with seasalt minerality. Billecart’s resolve to redirect its top fruit to Nicolas François Billecart, at onethird of the price, is certainly noble, but Grande Cuvée will forever be missed. Farewell, old friend.'
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.