Billecart Salmon Sous Bois

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Billecart-Salmon Brut NV  Sous Bois - Organic

“In Champagne, it is not always easy to distinguish marketing hype from genuine commitment...But I sense the commitment of these varied heirs is genuine, and it is surely no coincidence that some of the best Champagnes are made by houses dominated by single families….the Billecarts own Billecart-Salmon, some of Champagne’s most delectable wines.” - Stephen Brook, MW

In 1818, Nicolas François Billecart and his wife Elisabeth Salmon founded the house of Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, which now stands as the oldest continuously family-owned and operated house in Champagne. The estate is currently managed by the family’s seventh generation, brothers François and Antoine Roland-Billecart, while the cellars lie in the hands of Florent Nys.

Billecart vinifies each parcel separately and then blends them together to maintain precision based on acidity, maturity, and potential. Borrowing an idea from François and Antoine’s maternal grandmother, a brewer in the North of France, the house uses a natural technique of double-cold settling to avoid oxidation while retaining freshness. The unique process involves a primary cold settling of the pressed juice for a period of 12 hours when the heaviest of the must solids fall to the bottom. The juice is then racked into clean tanks where it is chilled down to 36°F for another 48 hours. This second, much colder settling eliminates any wild yeasts and additional heavy elements without the use of enzymes, filtering or centrifuge. After the second racking, fermentation is initiated by adding dried yeast and then maintained at a long, slow pace for up to five weeks in order to preserve as many delicate fruit aromas as possible.

This unique cuvée, which is entirely vinified in oak, is composed of the three main Champenois grape varieties. It totally masters the art of blending by renewing the ancestral spirit and savoir-faire of the original champagnes.  Composed of the three Champenois grape varieties in equal proportions: Premier and Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs; Premier and Grand Cru Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ; and Pinot Meunier from the right bank of the Vallée de la Marne

The oak – average age of 15 years – doesn’t add any flavor, but the barrel ferment of the base wine gives a real supple, elegant texture to the wine. There are lovely cherry, apple, and lemon fruity notes, with some refined toastiness from the extended lees aging. Real harmony here with lovely elegance and depth. It’s quite vinous and is full of interest
 
94 points James Suckling: A dense Champagne with a tight and linear structure. Compressed and very pretty. Hints of nuts and cream with some pie crust. Some nougat, too. Very long and flavorful. It’s one for a meal. One third of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Fermented and aged in barrel for about six months. It’s aged six years on lees. 
94 points Wine Spectator  A finely honed, mouthwatering Champagne, featuring a minerally underpinning of saline and chalk accents. Lacy in texture, offering wild cherry and pear fruit flavors, with toast point, lime blossom, and lemon pastry cream note
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