N.V. H. Billiot Fils, Rosé Brut Grand Cru Champagne, Ambonnay, France.
The Billiot Rosé Brut Champagne is a long time favorite grower fizz of mine and I always have happy memories coming back to me when I taste this small producer based in Montagne de Reims. With its Grand Cru sites in Ambonnay, Billiot, now run by Laetitia Billiot who is the fourth generation tho run this estate, makes a superb collection of hand crafted Champagnes, like this delicious Brut Rosé that shows fine finesse, elegance, fresh detail and a wonderfully vinous depth. Billiot farms 18 small parcels in the Ambonnay Grand Cru area with almost all being in prime hillside plots which heighten the quality and complexity in these beautiful sparkling wines. The Billiot Brut Rosé Grand Cru pleases from the start with a delightful and vivid pink magenta hue and an ultra caressing and creamy mouse which leads to a concentrated palate of black cherry, zesty citrus, red apples and brioche along with mineral notes, a touch of rose petals and nuttiness.

The latest disgorgement was 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, as per normal for this bottling and the final assemblage included 50% 2015, 25% 2014, 25% 2013 plus 10% Pinot Noir still wine from the 2015 vintage for color. The Billiot wines are almost all tank raised, only one cuvee sees barrel fermentation, and this Brut Rosé saw a en triage aging of 36 months in enameled vats with the 2015 still wine Pinot seeing used French barrique. The wines are pressed in traditional vertical basket presses in small lots and wines always show nuanced personalities, even the multi vintage blends are each unique and have a structured feel while still being remarkably graceful and luxurious, like this one shows. This Champagne can be a special occasion bubbly, but it really shines with cuisine and a meal, adding a sense of celebration and romance to any evening.
($60 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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