Champagne Billecart-Salmon Rosé NV – 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
Billecart-Salmon is particularly known for its Brut Rosé, which the family famously describes as: “A Champagne Rosé and not a Rosé Champagne.” The blend is generally 30% Pinot Meunier with almost 50% Chardonnay and the balance being Pinot Noir. Most Rosé blends don’t include such a large percentage of Chardonnay. Billecart-Salmon is intentionally different and the house cuvée has a devoted following, worldwide.
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.
Racy, fresh, and structured, this non-vintage Rosé Champagne is a complete class act. Strawberries and cassis layer over brioche and roses in this medium-bodied, beautifully blush, quintessentially elegant wine. A blend of 45% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier, the wine is brisk on the attack and finishes soft with flavors of red berries, toasted nuts, and a cleansing minerality. This traditional, classic Rosé Champagne is remarkably flexible, paired with a wide array of dishes.
Billecart-Salmon was one of the very first Champagne houses (in 1954) to believe in a Rosé style in Champagne. Made with between 30-40% reserve wines, the dosage is low at 7-8 grams.
This cuvée unveils a subtle aroma leading to an elegant, delicate bouquet of fine notes of red fruits and citrus fruit zest. On the palate, its special method of vinification gives a light, elegant flavor, followed by a fresh finish with a taste of raspberry.
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.
94 points, James Suckling: “A gorgeous rosé Champagne with sliced strawberries, orange peel, and hints of cream and pie crust. Medium body, tight and integrated tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Tangy acidity. The texture shows a fine bead and lightness. Long and intense.”
93 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Pale yet intense pink in color the Billecart-Salmon NV Brut Rosé is pure, fresh and intense on the nose, with lovely raspberry aromas, refreshing citrus zest flavors and great definition. On the palate this is a pure, light and vinous rosé with great finesse and a long, well-structured and even juicy finish. This iconic rosé blends 40% Chardonnay with 30% Pinot Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne and the southern slopes of Epernay and 30% Pinot Noir (with a small part added as red wine) from the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne. Fabulous.”