Ahead of its 200th anniversary in 2018, Champagne Billecart-Salmon has launched its latest vintages and announced a rebranding with new packaging.
The maison’s Blanc de Blancs has been named Cuvée Louis in honour of Louis Salmon, the brother of Elisabeth Salmon, who founded the house in 1818 with her husband Nicolas François Billecart.
'It’s important for us to remain family-owned and family-managed,' said Antoine Roland-Billecart, the sixth generation of the family, who runs the maison with his brother François.
'It’s a family story and we want it to stay that way. We have decided to remain at our level of production in terms of quantity, but to ameliorate in terms of quality. Our goal is to reduce the part of premier cru and increase the profile of grand cru, especially Ambonnay, Verzy, Verzenay and Côte des Blancs.'
The new Cuvée Louis Blanc de Blancs 2006 (£120 RRP) includes Chardonnays from grand cru sites in the Côte des Blancs: Cramant, Chouilly, Avize and Mesnil-sur-Oger. Attractive hints of coconut and crème pâtissière are evident on nose, while an evolved savoury character on the mid-palate is backed by focused acidity, with a clean citrus streak that persists through to the finish – giving the cuvée great potential for food matching.
The maison also launched Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart 2006 (£120 RRP), a blend of 60% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, all grand cru classified. Roland-Billecart recommends decanting it before serving to open up the aromas, which include rich honeyed, plum and russet apple notes. Around 10% of the Pinot Noir in the blend has been barrel-fermented, lending complexity to the palate.
The third new cuvée is the 2007 Vintage (£65 RRP), a Pinot Noir-dominant blend (75%) using grapes from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Aÿ and the Montagne de Reims, plus Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs. Fresh raspberry tart aromas on the nose are followed by a super-crisp palate, reflecting extra brut dosage of 4g/l.
The whole Billecart-Salmon range has been repackaged with new labels showing a larger logo and with colour-coding for each cuvée. Fans of the maison’s Sous Bois expression will notice the most striking change as its distinctive label has been replaced.
'We want our bottles to be brighter, more modern. It’s an evolution to reinforce the purity of the brand,' explained Angélina Stéphan, PR manager for the company.
Billecart-Salmon UK, 020 8405 6345