Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve Vintage 2008 Champagne ~ Champagne, France
17.5+/20 - Jancis Robinson
Matthew Jukes "This small house is one of the finest producers of Champagne, full stop."
Jancis Robinson - "Aged for more than nine years on the lees. Dosage just 4 g/l. Seems quite evolved on the nose ..... Savoury and ambitious..... Lots of precision and intellectual stimulation.....Back label tells us this is made up of 65% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne and 35% Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs. "
The Winemaker "This vintage champagne with an extra brut dosage, is dominated by great Pinot Noir flavours which is tempered by the elegance of the Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs."
Billecart-Salmon is one of the few remaining Champagne houses to be owned by the original family and was established in 1818 by Nicolas-François Billecart. Most of Billecart-Salmon's fruit comes from a small vineyard holding, though this is supplemented with grapes bought in from the Marne Valley and the Montagne de Reims. Meticulous production techniques, from the use of their own cultured yeast to its long, slow, cool fermentation, ensure that the family has 100 percent control of production.
The Champagne region lies at the northern edge of the world's vineyard-growing areas, with lower average temperatures than any other French wine region. In this kind of cool climate, the growing season is rarely warm enough to ripen grapes to the levels required for standard winemaking. Even in temperate years, Champagne's grapes still bear the hallmark acidity of a marginal climate, and it was only the discovery of secondary fermentation that provided a wine style capable of harnessing – and even embracing – this tartness.