Product information

Billecart-Salmon ‘Clos Saint-Hilaire’ Brut Millésime 2006

$1,290

Description

Mathieu Roland-Billecart likens it to the 1998 with richness whilst still having the capacity to easily age for another 10-20 years. This is a wine to drink at cellar temp (14ºC) in a generous glass. A complex, powerful wine. Mathieu pairs it with chicken and morrels or truffle risotto.

Only the 7th releases following on from the 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002 & 2003.

I was fortunate enough to have the 1995 back in 2004 when it was just a pup. Incredible purity and youth for a wine nearing 10 years of age. With the 2006 we approach 16 years of age on release! There are a couple of reviews below. By all accounts, this is another exceptional show for Clos Saint-Hilaire.

Check out the video launch of the wine by Mathieu below.

Aged for 159 months on lees and finished with a dosage of 2g/L.


A brand new label made of cherry wood, sourced from sustainable forests. Individually boxed.

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Check out all of the wines by Billecart-Salmon

Why is this Wine so Yummy?

This cuvée Blanc de Noirs vinified in old oak casks following 6 months of élévage in the same barrels. This allows the richness of the terroir and the purity of the wine to express itself. This rare vintage of incredible typicity will live on for future decades with strength and elegance.

Aged for 159 months on lees, disgorged toward the end of 2020 with a dosage of 2g/L. Total production of 6,750 bottles.

Mathieu Roland-Billecart launched the 2006 Clos Saint-Hilaire

 

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A Legend is Born

“In the 1950s my grandmother set aside this park-like space next to our house in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ with vines, flowers and fruit trees, for our enjoyment. Realising this outstanding terroir’s potential, my family decided to plant the first Pinot Noir vines here in 1964. We tried using the Pinot Noir to make white wine in small Burgundy barrels: an outstanding champagne was about to be born. After several years of painstakingly tending the vines, the 1995 harvest, the first year of this unique cuvée, was remarkable. We called it Le Clos Saint-Hilaire after the patron saint of the church in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. No more than 3,500 to 7,500 bottles are produced each year and each is individually numbered.”
François Roland-Billecart, 6th Generation

The Parcel

The one-hectare Clos Saint-Hilaire meets the strictest guidelines: a single enclosed, contiguous parcel with complete winemaking facilities on site. The terroir’s magic combined with the wine maker’s skills make this wine exceptional.
Made only from Pinot Noir vinified in casks, it develops an outstanding purity. Billecart-Salmon decided to add very little liqueur, or dosage, after disgorgement in order to let the typicality of the single grape used to make this great wine evolve.

An indulged terroir

The Clos Saint-Hilaire is a single parcel where the vines, soil and subsoil are carefully tended with respect for the environment. Several years ago, BILLECART-SALMON decided to return to ancestral champagne-making methods in the Clos Saint-Hilaire by using work horses.

This method of maintaining the soil and tending the vines increases porosity and biodiversity: the roots grow deep and the minerals they draw from the soil foster the growth of smaller, more concentrated grapes, revealing the terroir’s typical flavour.

About Billecart-Salmon

It all started here in 1818 when Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon were married, marking the creation of their Champagne House. This has been a family story since the beginning with Louis Salmon, brother of Elisabeth and a passionate oenologist, getting involved in the creation of the wines.

Thus, over 7 generations, each member of the family has endeavoured to continue the family tradition, staying faithful to the same motto: “Give priority to quality, strive for excellence”.

Billecart-Salmon is discreetly but significantly evolving. Since 2010, a new cellar has housed some 400 barrels for vinification and élevage, and since 2018, another cellar is home to oak foudres retaining some 80,000 liters of reserve wine. Meanwhile, Billecart’s wines are spending longer and longer sur lattes, and fruit sourcing is changing—with more grand cru fruit replacing premier cru fruit—while volumes remain the same. Based on the trials underway in their emblematic Clos Saint-Hilaire, the next frontier will be the vineyards. This visit and tasting with Mathieu Roland-Billecart and chef des caves Florent Nys underscored the impact of these quiet but important changes, and it’s clear that this is a house that’s going from strength to strength. I’ll be reporting on Billecart-Salmon in greater depth in the future, but for now, all these recent releases come warmly recommended.

William Kelley

In the Winery

As part of the ever present quest to maintain the quality of their champagnes, in the fifties, the House established the technique of cold settling combined with the use of stainless steel tanks for a longer fermentation at a lower temperature. The cuverie concentrates primarily on small thermoregulated cuves (47 hectolitres) which allows the House to observe the traceability of the grape varieties and the individual parcels. This vinification is carried out cru by cru and grape variety by grape variety which allows for the conservation of the nuances of expression of the terroir. In vinifying at a low temperature, the fermentation process slows down, encouraging ethereal aromas, which are delicate and allow all the purity of the fruit to be expressed. It is the absolute signature of the Billecart-Salmon style.

More than 400 small and 24 large oak casks respectively occupy the two chais at the House.

Each oak cask has been meticulously chosen and shaped in order to reveal all the richness and aromatic complexity of the wines. Remaining faithful to its style and expertise, the House vinifies at a low temperature to keep all the characteristic freshness and elegance of its champagnes.  With a view to a consistent traceability, each parcel is individually vinified. This knowledge and ancestral method of vinification is combined with vinification in stainless steel tanks to exalt all the elegance of the Billecart style.

The chalk cellars date from 17th and 19th centuries and stand guard over the House’s precious cargo. Over time, the wines assert themselves and the aromas develop, imprinted with all the finesse, balance and elegance which are characteristic of the personality of the House’s champagnes.

Over three to four years in cellars the non-vintage champagnes really blossom, staying around twice as long as the fixed regulations of the appellation. The vintage cuvées patiently wait ten years before they begin to reveal their maturity. Allowing time to play its role is behind the grandeur of Billecart-Salmon champagnes.

In the Vineyard

The champagnes of Maison Billecart-Salmon are above all created thanks to the knowledge of the men who rigorously cultivate an estate of 100 hectares, obtaining grapes from an area totalling 300 hectares across 40 crus of the Champagne region.

The majority of the grapes used for vinification come from a radius of 20km around Epernay, where the Grand Crus of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay co-exist, in the ethereal vineyards of the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs.

Where in the World is Billecart-Salmon?

The majority of the grapes used for vinification come from a radius of 20km around Epernay, where the Grand Crus of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay co-exist, in the ethereal vineyards of the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs.

The map below shows the main sub-regions of Champagne

Click to enlarge🔎


From left to right Champagne vineyards by Soil Type, Aspect and Dominant Varietal

Click on a map to enlarge🔎

97 Points

An incredibly fragrant nose shines with ripe, red-cheeked Mirabelle plum and even has an overtone of Kirsch. The palate is creamy and has a wonderful spine of freshness that only helps to underscore the generosity and roundness. The mousse is superfine, the autolysis is restrained yet profound, there is a textured mid-palate of concentrated red apple fruit with an edge of candlewax and a delicious reverberation of pepper. Exquisite.

Anne Krebiehl MW

19.5+/20

A baby. It was unfair to ask this wine to perform on a stage so crowded with opinionated and excellent wines, but 2006 LCSH didn’t bat an eyelid and, in fact, opened up exponentially over the hour that I managed to spend glued to this glass.

With more perfume than I expected and crammed with chypre and white smoke details, these exotic details are perfectly counterpointed with terrific complexity and thousands of layers of fruit and spice. Quieter and more closed than the others, but complex, calm and blushingly pretty, there is a lot of power and potential hidden in the folds of this wine, and while they are reluctant to emerge, it is possible to get a sense of their potential already. While the depth of fruit is extraordinary, I am only seeing the tip of the iceberg today. I can only imagine the difference a year makes, let alone ten, twenty or thirty! I hope I am here to taste this wine to realise its potential. Either way, this is a staggeringly serious vintage for LCSH, and it might well prove to be another flawless release given time. For now, I will keep my cards respectively close to my chest.

Matthew Jukes

18.5 Points

Jancis Robinson

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Billecart Salmon, Rue Carnot, Aÿ-Champagne, France

France
Champagne
Vallée de la Marne
Mareuil-sur-Aÿ