Billecart-Salmon Champagne Tasting w/ Special Guest Clement Calleja Tuesday 10/24 5:30-7PM!
October 24 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Champagne Tasting w/ Clement Calleja
Tuesday October 24th 5:30-7:00PM
Sherlocks Wine Merchant Buckhead
3401 Northside Parkway NW
Atlanta, GA 30327
In the heart of Champagne, situated in the charming village
of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, is a Champagne House family-owned
and independent for nearly 200 years.
The Billecart family has been living in Mareuil-sur-Ay since the 16th century. When Nicolas Francois Billecart married Elisabeth Salmon in the early 1800s the two families’ long held vineyards were married as well. This led to Nicolas’ decision to leave his law practice and take over the family wine estate. In 1818 he founded the house of Billecart-Salmon which now stands as the oldest continuously family owned and operated house in Champagne. It is currently managed by the seventh generation, brothers Francois and Antoine Roland-Billecart.
Billecart-Salmon owns a total of 15 hectares of vineyards. Eleven of these are in the Vallee de la Marne split between 4ha of Grand Cru in Ay and Premier Cru in Mareuil-sur-Ay and 7ha in the village of Damery. In the Cote des Blancs the family owns 4ha of Grand Cru vineyards in the villages of Chouilly, Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. With respect to harvest one of the most distinctive aspects of Billecart-Salmon is their philosophy that an early harvest yields more elegant and delicate champagnes. They look for a strong acid structure rather than alcohol as a preservative and therefore, never harvest at higher than 10 degrees of potential alcohol.
Another defining characteristic of Billecart-Salmon is their practice of double cold settling which they began in 1952. This involves a primary cold settling of the pressed juice for a period of 12 hours whereby the heaviest of the must solids fall to the bottom. The juice is then racked into clean tanks where it is chilled down to 2C for another 48 hours. This second and much colder settling eliminates any wild yeasts and additional heavy elements without the use of enzymes, filtering or a centrifuge. After the second racking, fermentation is initiated by adding dried yeasts and maintained at a long slow pace for up to 5 weeks in order to preserve as many delicate fruit aromas as possible. One varietal that benefits greatly from this is Pinot Meunier which the Billecart’s believe is a vital component in world class champagnes. Many producers shy away from Meunier because it is easy to burn off its delicate aromas during fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is allowed to occur but may be blocked in certain years if the vintage conditions warrant it.
As of 2001, Billecart-Salmon moved their winemaking into a brand new facility that they believe to be the most technically advanced in Champagne. The intricate and precise nature of Francois Domi’s winemaking demanded that the family use every available resource to create the perfect environment for the production of these truly stellar champagnes. The ability to perform as many as 75 micro-fermentations simultaneously allows M. Domi the luxury of keeping many of his parcels separate until the blending phase. Overall, production levels are modest and many of Billecart-Salmon’s prestige cuvees are highly allocated.
~Selections To Be Tasted~
Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut NV $59.99*
James Suckling 94 Points: Superfine citrus-tinged aromas here that give way to more rich stone fruits then red berries; the purity is striking. Minerally accents like crushed rocks, plus dried wild flowers too. The palate’s boldly flavored, the concentration is impressive and the energetic drive of acidity is a thrill – long strawberry and red cherry flavors amid some gentle biscuity, red-fruited notes to close.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois NV $89.99*
Wine Enthusiast 95 Points: Fermented and aged briefly in wood, this is dry, intense and toasty while still giving space for white fruits and some citrus. Richly endowed, spicy, and tangy, its structure and tight texture mark it out as a Champagne for long-term aging. The aftertaste is brisk, packed with acidity and with reminiscences of the oak-aging in the vanilla finish.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose NV $89.99*
James Suckling 94 Points: A subtle nose with plenty of fine autolysis aromas of fresh bread and sweetly fragrant yeasty notes, plus some gentle spice and chalky notes. The palate unleashes beautiful wild strawberry fruit flavors, super fresh, fleshy and pure. Great balance and depth.
2002 Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Brut $199.99*
James Suckling 98 Points: This has a super-composed nose with gently spiced pastry and bright strawberry and cherry fruits, as well as some spiced brulée custard and praline. There’s a lot of deep-set complexity here. The palate has a bright, crunchy, and assertive burst of peach and lemon flavor on entry, while the pinot takes the mid-palate with fleshy white cherries and smooth phenolics that hold through to the finish with gently nutty mushroom and cherry-pip flavors to close. Great balance and power.
2006 Billecart-Salmon “Cuvee Elizabeth” Brut Rose $239.99*
Vinous 94 Points: The 2006 Rosé Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon is powerful, intense and also classically austere in its make up. Crushed flowers, mint, red berries and cranberries are all finely sketched. The 2006 finishes with striking mineral-driven precision, and while it doesn’t have the opulence or exuberance of the 2002, it is still a very pretty and appealing Champagne. The Elisabeth Salmon is 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay.