Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut Vintage 2008 Arrival
Billecart uses its own cultured yeasts (from natural yeasts of nearby villages) and its ferments are colder than most – a crucial element in retaining freshness and delicacy. TYSON STELZER, 2011 Champagne Guide
This one is very simple: a very highly talked about and incredibly anticipated Champagne is finally arriving to Australia in the first week of August. I am honoured to announce its pre-arrival with a savings of $25 per bottle. Many of the world’s best wine critics have written and scored the 2008 Extra Brut so I thought I’d pass it over to the big time professionals. So, without further ado:
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. WILLIAM KELLEY, The Wine Advocate
A blend of 65% Pinot Noir consisting of Premier and Grand Crus from the Montagne de Reims and the Vallee de la Marne and 35% Chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs. Significantly, this has nine years ageing on its lees (longer than some Prestige Cuvees), the 2008 was first released onto the global market back in March 2019. With an Extra Brut dosage of 4g/l, this is a highly expressive, confident and convincing interpretation of the vintage. Right now, it is youthfully sharp and focused with fine salinity, depth, acidity and balance, and as such is already extremely approachable. The flavour spectrum encompasses toast, oyster shell, citrus, cream and a flinty, mineral depth. There’s supreme balance and elegance here, combined with a hidden underlying power that will continue to emerge and broaden with time. The finish is dry and long.
(97) JOHN STIMPFIG, Decanter
2% chardonnay, 88% pinot from Verzy, Verzenay, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Aÿ (for structure) and Ambonnay (for delicacy); 20% of the pinot fermented in barrels; 3.2g/L dosage; less than 100,000 bottles Extra Brut Vintage was conceived in 2004, a good vintage but without the structure required for the Nicolas François label. Hence it was effectively declassified and released as Extra Brut Vintage. Both labels were produced in 2006, 2007 and 2008. To distinguish it from Nicolas François, the Extra Brut blend comprises more Verzy, Verzenay and Trépail, though its ultimate aspiration is to show the personality of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The first blend in 2004 boasted 70% pinot noir, which has progressively evolved to 88% – almost blanc de noirs! Categorically the finest Extra Brut ever conceived, this is a cuvée of laser line and immortal structure that rejoices in the lightning energy of 2008 and the exacting precision engineering that is Billecart. A glowing, medium straw hue is a dazzling prelude to its scintillating purity and drive, cut with magnificent acid line and high-tensile chalk structure. The distinguished, north-east facing slopes of Verzy and Verzenay take a delightfully fragrant and pure lead, presenting white cherry and strawberry hull that ring out in clear peals like church bells. Age has done nothing to evolve its pitch-perfect high notes, lending just the most subtle nuance of fresh almond. A cuvée to age for another 20 years at least – and it will live effortlessly for 50. In sheer, breathtaking purity, monumental chalk minerality, endless longevity – not to mention ludicrous affordability – Extra Brut 2008 is one of the champagne buys of the decade.
(97) TYSON STELZER, 2021 Champagne Guide