Champagne Billecart-Salmon Releases Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon 2008
Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon 2008
© Leif Carlsson
Champagne Billecart-Salmon’s non-vintage Brut Rosé is a benchmark among rosé Champagnes, embodying the sleek, cold-fermented elegance of the house. The release of the rosé Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon is thus notable – and one of the last 2008 vintage wines of the big houses to be released.
CEO Mathieu Roland-Billecart explained the house’s long track record of making rosé Champagnes and why the wine is named after his forebear Elisabeth Salmon: “We know we’ve been making rosé since at least 1840 because we have a letter from a client asking for more. But the Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon is a is a much more recent addition to the range. My uncle Jean created it in 1988 and the wine was first released in 2001. He made it in response to people who loved to drink Cuvée Nicolas François and asked him for a prestige cuvée in rosé.” Nicolas François, whose name graces another vintage prestige cuvée of the house, had married Elizabeth in 1818 and thus the name for the new rosé wine suggested itself.
Roland-Billecart explained that the 55% portion of Pinot Noir in the blend hailed from Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy, Verzenay, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur- Aÿ. The small 9% portion of red wine added for the rosé colour came from a south-facing parcel of 80-year-old Pinot Noir vines overlooking Billecart-Salmon’s home village of Mareuil-sur- Aÿ. He noted that it always gave “small grapes with big concentration.” The 45% portion of Chardonnay in the blend is from three villages: “Chouilly for the precise, floral, lighter end, Cramant for minerality and expression, Mesnil for longevity because it always provides a degree of structure and richness.”
Like all wines of the house, the base wines were cold-fermented, and a small portion was vinified in Burgundian pièce barrels. Only about 40% of the base wines went through malo-lactic fermentation before being bottled in June 2009 and disgorged ten years later, in July 2019 with a dosage of 7g/l. It was then aged further before release in April 2021.
On the day of its release, the wine took time to open up, needed air and temperature to unfold its aromas. It thus comes with a promise for the future and will age beautifully. Mathieu Roland-Billecart is confident that the wine will shine for years to come: “A thirty-year-journey does not scare me here,” he said. For the first time, Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon will also be available in magnums.
The recommended retail price in the UK is £165.00/750ml bottle and £350/magnum.
Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Rosé 2008
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