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1998 Billecart Salmon Nicolas Francois

Billecart Salmon

94Average Score
flagChampagne / France
White

The 1998 Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart (60% Pinot, 40% Chardonnay) is another beautiful wine. The aromas are especially captivating and highly suggestive of Pinot, but the Chardonnay seems to take center stage on the palate, where the fruit is highly expressive. Like the Blanc de Blancs, the wine saw 50% malolactic fermentation and only 5% of the wine was aged in oak as the estate was in its early days of using oak and wisely chose a moderate approach. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2018. ||Billecart-Salmon, based in Mareuil-sur-Ay, makes wines in a style that is all about timeless elegance. These Champagnes are characterized by their supreme balance. All of the 2008 vins claires I tasted showed remarkable harmony and transparency of site. Much of the aromatic complexity of the wines can be attributed to a preference towards cold temperatures in fermentation, which keeps the wines fresh. The domaine uses Burgundian oak barrels for a portion of the wines. The exact amount of batonnage and malolactic fermentation depend on the vintage. Prior to being bottled the wines are blended in a large steel tank to insure consistency, something the estate takes very seriously. In general the non-vintage wines receive 7-9 grams of dosage, while the vintage wines have 5-7 grams, depending on the year. Among current releases, I found the 1998s to be brilliant, while the 2000s, from a much more challenging growing season, come across as less refined. The estate does not disclose disgorgement dates, but a code on the foil wrapping can be traced back to a date. Wine Advocate.December, 2008

Antonio Galloni, Vinous    Score: 94/100

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