Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François is a serious Champagne which has been given extra ageing to reflect the structure and potential of the vintage. There is a hallmark elegance and purity of fruit here with firm acidity and impressive weight.Billecart-Salmon
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.
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... The estate does not disclose disgorgement dates, but a code on the foil wrapping can be traced back to a date.
(Antonio Galloni - Wine Advocate # 180 -Dec 2008)