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Champagne, France

In 1818, Nicolas François Billecart and his wife Elisabeth Salmon founded the house of Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, which now stands as the oldest continuously family-owned and operated house in Champagne. The estate is currently managed by the family’s seventh generation, brothers François and Antoine Roland-Billecart, while the cellars lie in the hands of renowned “chef de cave” François Domi.

Billecart-Salmon owns a total of 30 ha of vineyards. Eleven of these lie in the Vallée de la Marne split between 4 ha of Grand Cru in Aÿ and Premier Cru in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, along with 7 ha in the village of Damery. In the Côte des Blancs the family owns 4 ha of Grand Cru vineyards in the villages of Chouilly, Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. In addition, Billecart-Salmon leases 60 ha of vineyards across the region and also buys fruit from 40 growers with whom they have close, longterm relationships.

The house operates on the philosophy that an early harvest yields more elegant, delicate Champagnes. They look for strong acid structure rather than alcohol as a preservative, and therefore, never harvest at higher than 10° potential alcohol. They strive to carry out their harvest with minimal grape handling and transit time by utilizing four press houses on the property.

The Billecart House vinifies each parcel separately and then blends them together to maintain precision based on acidity, maturity and potential. Borrowing an idea from François and Antoine’s maternal grandmother, a brewer in the North of France, the house uses a natural technique of double-cold settling to avoid oxidation while retaining freshness. The unique process involves a primary cold settling of the pressed juice for a period of 12 hours when the heaviest of the must solids fall to the bottom. The juice is then racked into clean tanks where it is chilled down to 36°F for another 48 hours. This second, much colder settling eliminates any wild yeasts and additional heavy elements without the use of enzymes, filtering or centrifuge. After the second racking, fermentation is initiated by adding dried yeast and then maintained at a long, slow pace for up to five weeks in order to preserve as many delicate fruit aromas as possible.

10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Billecart-Salmon


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Sales Materials (view all)

1999 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart, Grand Cru [BLT300_99]
1999 Billecart-Salmon Le Clos Saint-Hilaire [BLT350_99]
2002 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart, Grand Cru [BLT300_02]
2004 Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs [BLT170_04]
2004 Billecart-Salmon Vintage Extra Brut Grand Cru [BLT210_04]
2006 Billecart Salmon Blanc de Blancs [BLT170_06]
2006 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Rosé Grand Cru [BLT330_06]
2006 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart, Grand Cru [BLT300_06]
2006 Billecart-Salmon Vintage Extra Brut Grand Cru [BLT210_06]
2007 Billecart-Salmon Vintage Extra Brut Grand Cru [BLT210_07]
NV Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs [BLT160_NV]
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Demi Sec [BLT110_NV]
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé [BLT130_NV]
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve [BLT100_NV]
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve (RED) [BLT150_NV]
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve with Gift Box [BLT800_NV]
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois [BLT140_NV]
NV Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut [BLT200_NV]
NV Billecart-Salmon Rosé with Gift Box [BLT830_NV]