The Billecart family has been living in Mareuilsur-Aÿ since the 16th century. Nicolas Francois Billecart married Elisabeth Salmon in the early 1800s, and the families’ longstanding vineyards were married as well, and Billecart-Salmon was founded in 1818. Today it is the longest-standing family-owned Champagne house, managed by brothers Francois and Antoine RolandBillecart. Own a collection of 15 ha of vineyards, 11 in Vallée de la Marne – 4 in Ay (GC) and Mareuil-sur-Ay(1er Cru); 7 in Damery, 4 ha of
Grand Cru vineyards in Chouilly, Avize, MesnilSur-Oger. 95% of the grapes are bought from 27 top vineyards. Early harvesting is important for freshness, which is a hallmark of the house’s wines. In the cellar, oxidation is avoided at all costs, and the methods of their core wines such as the Rose are guarded secrets. Billecart were pioneers of cold stabilization, which entails dropping the temperature to 5°C for two days, then adding dried yeast to vats. Fermentation takes place for three weeks at about 12°C, and all wines go through full malo-lactic conversion. All NV wines have a dosage of 8g/L, and are aged 3-4 years on their lees."
Brut Reserve and Brut Rosé consist of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the difference being that the rosé adds its Pinot Noir as a still red wine in a delicate amount for balance. The rose is soft, creamy and you can detect a hint of red floral tones amid the bright citrus flavors. Cuvée Nicolas Billecart is named after the house’s founder and only created in the best vintages. A combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Grand Crus, this is allowed extended lees aging and becomes broad, rich and stunningly aromatic. Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon is an incredible style of rose, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vinified separately as white and red wines, blended later and partially aged in cask. The fruits are candied red berry and stone fruits, round and soft yet clean with a hint of saltiness on the finish. Clos Saint Hilaire is the finest wine of the house, named after the walled-in vineyard in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, comprised of 100% Pinot Noir planted in 1964 on chalk and alluvial soils, finished with zero dosage. The wine is only produced in the finest vintages, in tiny amounts.