2008 Cuvée Nicolas François Brut Champagne Billecart Salmon

Grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Colour White
Origin France, Champagne
ABV 12.5%

The 2008 Brut Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart is an electric, nervy Champagne that very much reflects the style of the year. Crushed rocks, mint, spice, dried herbs, hazelnut, lemon peel and marzipan are all beautifully laced together. The 2008 is just entering its first plateau of maturity, making it a fine choice for drinking now and over the next two decades, possibly more. The blend id 60% Pinot Noir (from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy and Verzenay) and 40% Chardonnay (from Mesnil, Chouilly and Cramant). It's a terrific effort, although I must add that a recent visit made it pretty clear that even better things lie ahead. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. Drinking range: 2023 - 2038 Rating: 95 Antonio Galloni, (May 2023)

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The facts – 08NF was made from 83% Grands Crus and 17% de Premiers Crus: 60% Pinot Noir from the Premiers and Grands Crus of the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne (Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzenay et Verzy); 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs (Mesnil, Chouilly, Cramant, Vertus); 17% of the wines were vinified in oak barrels, and it was aged on its lees for 150 months; The dosage is 2.9 g/l, and it was disgorged in January 2022.
This super-deep wine dwells low in the glass with weight and depth of delivery that is completely unhurried. Vinous, powerful and with a full spectrum of fruit and patisserie, it is remarkable just how little citrus and herb there is on the front end of this staggeringly impressive wine. It is more layered and exotic than any current release Champagne I can think of, and then when it seems as though the scene is set, everything changes instantly. The palate drops about three gears revealing arresting zestiness and tanginess that completely engulfs the senses. I learned that this cuvée’s release was delayed by nearly two years because the back end was so twitchy, nervy and excitable. As it turns out, the Billecart gurus made the right call here – this is an electrifying wine, and the finish shows that the potential here is incredible. I am lucky enough to have tasted the 1959 and the 1961 Billecart-Salmon vintage wines, among others, and the DNA and detail in this 2008 are near-identical. While the top half of this wine is showy, flamboyant and seductive, the lower half is firm, chiselled, rigid and breath-taking.
Drinking range: 2023 - 2050 Rating: 20/20 Matthew Jukes (May 2023)

The 2008 Brut Cuvée Nicolas François was disgorged during the third quarter of 2022 with less than three grams per liter. It has a delicate, pure, clean bouquet with aromas of orchard fruits, spring flowers, honey and licorice, with hints of brioche and pastry with aeration. Medium to full-bodied, chiseled and crystalline, with racy acids and a chalky texture, the palate is tense and the finish is long, penetrating and salty. It exhibits perfect Billecart style, yet tension is present, a sign of the vintage. It is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir (sourced from Aÿ, Mareuil and Verzenay) and 40% Chardonnay from Mesnil, Chouilly and Cramant, and it matured 83% in tanks and 17% in old oak barrels. Drinking range: 2023 - 2050 Rating: 96 Yohan Castaing, (Apr 2023)

Champagne Billecart Salmon

Founded by Nicolas-Francois Billecart in 1818, and situated in the village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, this remains one of the few family owned businesses in Champagne. the family has 100% control of production. They obtain their grapes from an area covering 220 hectares, the majority of which come from in and around the region of Épernay, and own a total of 15 hectares themselves. Today the estate is run by François and Antoine Roland-Billecart, the 6th generation of the family to lead the independent House, still with the support of their father Jean Roland-Billecart.

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