n.v. Billecart-Salmon, Brut Rosé, Champagne, France.
Billecart-Salmon’s latest disgorgement of Billy Rose is luxurious, comforting and very refined, this again, is one of nicest lots of this classic in the last 10 years, it shows some deft blending, remarkable clarity and detail with an energetic, but creamy beading mousse. There are maybe better sparkling wines out there, as I’ve said before, some that might be cheaper, but it is hard not to fall head over heels for this joyous, delicious and elegant Champagne. This edition of their fabled Rose really hits the spot with a dreamy pale hue, tight bubbles, lifting acidity, mineral tones, slight yeasty brioche and heavenly hints of strawberry, red berry and tangerine essences along with citrus, apple skin and bread dough. This Billecart-Salmon Rosé really, as always, and as I’ve said before, keeps your interest from first sip to the painful moment when you have to toss the bottle into the recycling bin! I’ve been lucky to have had many a chance to drink Billecart-Salmon and taste through their full collection, including the top Tête de Cuvée bottlings, including the vintage Cuvée Elisabeth Rosé, the Cuvée Nicolas François, the vintage Blanc de Blanc Cuvée Louis Salmon and the very rare single vineyard Le Clos Saint-Hilaire Brut, along with specialities like the wood aged Sous Bois, one of my personal favorites along with the racy vintage Extra Brut, all of which are class acts that should be on anyone’s Champagne bucket lists. This Rosé is crafted from mostly Chardonnay, sourced from a selection of Billecart’s favorites crus, along with Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne areas, and (Pinot) Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne and the slopes of Epernay, with these chalky sites or terroirs all playing a role in this sparkling wine’s personality and adds plenty of thrill on the palate.

The famous Billecart-Salmon Champagne house has always been a family run winery and continues to be a though leader in the region with a long and prestigious history of elegance and innovation, including being credited with creating Rosé Champagne, and this wine pays a great tribute to that. Billecart-Salmon dates back, as they note, to 1818, when Nicolas François Billecart and his wife Elisabeth Salmon started this journey as a couple in love with the same terroir, and each other. Louis Salmon, Elisabeth’s brother, helped create the wines from the beginning and was a passionate oenologist that dedicated himself to the success here, he is very much remembered and honored even now. Billecart-Salmon, was founded in the village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, near Epernay, establishing what would be one of the most renown Champagne Houses, which still excites even the most jaded of Champagne lovers. The Billecart family has remained faithful to Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and today, the seventh generation of the family, Mathieu Roland-Billecart is in charge of this Champagne House. Today, Florent Nys is the Chief Winemaker for Champagne Billecart-Salmon, and Florent, who, as the winery notes, has been working as an apprentice here under the watchful eye of family since 2005, and is credited for all these fabulous recent bottlings. For the Rosé, Billecart uses 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier, all without skin maceration, with the delicate pale hue is from the addition of still (Pinot Noir) wine. The non vintage Rosé, that sees a low dosage, is put together from three recent vintages, for vitality, and typically includes 40% of reserve wines, which adds depth, complexity and character. This edition of Billecart’s Rosé is impeccable and rewarding, it is a Champagne for all occasions, special and otherwise, and it goes great with an array of cuisine choices and should be enjoyed not just on birthdays and or anniversaries!
($85 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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