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Average critic rating : 91.0 points
The Billecart-Salmon 1999 Brut Nicolas Francois Billecart – its Pinot predictably from the Montagne de Reims and Chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs – accompanies aromatic overtones of yeast and baked goods with an almost doughy sense of substantiality and plushness, yet features as well the buoyancy and the bright lemony and crabapple-y acidity with attendant cut and freshness that are hallmarks of this house’s style. The understatement to this cuvee’s melange of herbs ranging from lemon verbena to blond tobacco as well as its subtly alkaline and chalky undertone are also characteristics I associate with the name Billecart-Salmon; and nutty hints of evolution are quite discrete, suggesting a younger wine. Metaphorically cooling; laid-back and soothing; yet offering stimulating refreshment and intrigue, this will probably be well worth following for another 4-6 years. ||Owners of around 35 vineyard acres in three Champagne sub-regions, Billecart-Salmon holds rental contracts on more than three times that acreage and purchasing contracts cover twice-again that much, all grist for the mills that are their four press houses. Director Antoine Roland-Billecart and cellarmaster Francois Domi favor techniques designed to emphasize purity, polish, levity and acid-retention (although some lots are permitted to undergo malo-lactic transformation), and the effects of such an approach were very evident in the two recent vintage-dated releases that I tasted this autumn. eRobertParker.com.November, 2013
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