Billecart Salmon Brut Sous Bois Oak Age Champagne ~ Champagne, France
This is great……and here’s why!95/100 - Wine Enthusiast
94/100 - Wine Spectator
93/100 - James Suckling
92/100 - Decanter
92/100 - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
92/100 -Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
92/100 - Vinous
91/100 - John Gilman
James Suckling - "..This is superb! Drink now....Some wood elevage adds light, cedary notes to the brioche, spiced-berry and apple-pastry aromas The palate has a smooth, full and focused feel with lemon-peel and white-cherry flavors in a crisp, assertive and fresh mode. Poached strawberries to close. "
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 notes. "
Wine Enthusiast - "Equal proportions of the three main Champagne grapes and partial aging in wood before bottling give this wine a distinctively rich character. Bottle aging has also softened the concentrated white fruits and acidity. This balanced wine is ready to drink."
John Gilman - "The new release of Sous Bois from Billecart is another beautifully made wine, wafting from the glass in a mélange of apple, pear, fresh-baked bread, stony minerality and a touch of gently buttery new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and complex, with a fine core, excellent soil signature, very refined mousse, crisp acids and superb length and grip on the gently woody finish. This seems a touch more marked by its oak than last year’s version did- but, I did taste last year’s release about four months later into the year, so perhaps it was just a function of the wine having a bit more time to better absorb its oak component. This is not overtly woody, but I would give it a bit of time in the cellar to allow the oak to become more subtle in its influence. It is a very well-made wine."
Vinous - "Bright yellow. Pungent orchard fruit and lemon curd scents are complemented by suggestions of vanilla, anise and smoky minerals. Toasty and silky in texture, offering juicy pear and tangerine flavors plus a deeper suggestion of candied fig on the back half. Closes sappy, focused and long, with repeating smokiness and strong mineral cut."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar- "Light, bright gold. Smoky pear and redcurrant scents are complicated by toasty lees, vanilla and fresh rose. Silky and expansive on the palate, offering toasty citrus and orchard fruit flavors that are given lift and spine by juicy acidity. The toasty note comes back on the mineral-tinged finish, which lingers with impressive tenacity. "
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - "Full-bodied and rich, this is a very intense and well-structured, pure and vinous champagne clearly driven by the two Pinot varieties in terms of fruit and body. The Chardonnay, however, contributes freshness, finesse and a long, citrus-fresh and tightly structured finish....Fermented in small oak barrels and aged for six to seven years on the bottle lees prior the disgorgement (dosage: seven grams per liter), the NV Brut Sous Bois is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay in equal parts whose composition includes 67% of the 2009 harvest and 33% reserve wines from the 2008 harvest. The nose is spicy, pure and fresh, delivering small red berry, white fruit and floral as well as nicely fresh oak flavors to the ripe and well-concentrated nose. "
Decanter - "This is produced from an equal blend of the three classic Champagne grape varieties: Pinot Noir sourced from the Montagne de Reims sector and Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs (both from premier cru and grand cru villages), plus Pinot Meunier from the Marne Valley. It has delicate notes of hazelnut and white fruit as well as a hint of pastry, showing lots of personality on the palate and a pleasing lightness on the finish."
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.