1999 Billecart Salmon Nicolas Francois

From a great vintage, the 1999 Nicolas Francois from Billecart-Salmon is a stand-out buy for any collector or connoisseur of the Champagne region. Billecart-Salmon is a house known for finesse, elegance and freshness, traits fully expressed in this luxury bottling. Named after the house’s founder, it is drawn from only grand cru vineyards and expertly crafted to be precise, pure and focused in the glass. It is a wine that is capable of true greatness.


The 1959 vintage was named “Champagne of the Millennium” at a tasting in 1999 beating 149 of the finest Champagnes ever made for judges that included the likes of Richard Juhlin and Serena Sutcliffe. An incredible achievement, testament to the quality of the house and the cuvee. The 1999 may not achieve quite these heights, but with the same DNA and skill applied to what was an excellent vintage for Champagne as a whole, this promises to be quite exceptional now and for years and decades to come.

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Average critic rating : 93.0 points



Very elegant, ethereal in texture and well-knit, offering flavors of poached pear, black licorice, lemon pâte de fruit, pastry and ground ginger. Shows fine balance and integration, with a fresh, lasting finish of ripe fruit and saline minerality. Drink now through 2027. Dec 15, www.winespectator.com



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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