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Matthew Jukes, October 2020,
2007 Billecart-Salmon, Cuvée Nicolas François is an absolute joy. [...] In terms of sophistication, elegance and unrivalled precision, this is the wine to buy. I raved about the 2007 Cuvée Louis and this wine is made in a similar vein. This is a sensational vintage for Billecart and NF will outlive Louis given that it has more horsepower under the bonnet. [...] I am in complete awe as to how these wines are so fine and so laser-sighted in their youth. NF is a class apart.
The Champagne House Billecart Salmon was founded in 1818 when Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon were married. The House has remained within the family and is now run by the seventh generation of descendants. They maintain the legend of this "spirit of Champagne." The passion of the grape cultivated as a philosophy around three principal values "finesse, balance and elegance."
Champagne, the world's greatest sparkling wine, needs little introduction - with imitations produced in virtually every country capable of growing grapes, including such unlikely candidates as India and China. The Champagne region, to the north of Paris, has the most northerly vineyards in France, with vines grown on slopes with a southerly exposure to maximise sunlight. The soil is chalky, providing an excellent balance of drainage and water retention. The key to the wine is in the cellar - the bubbles result from a second fermentation in the bottle and the rich toasty flavours in great Champagne come from extended bottle ageing on the yeasty lees. Until the eighteenth century, the wines produced in the Champagne area were light acidic white wines, with no hint of sparkle. However glass and closure technology developed at that time and it was not long before Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Hautvilliers, started experimenting with blends and produced the first recognisable champagne. In a world accustomed to still wines, the advent of champagne was almost a flop. It was saved when it became fashionable at the French court as a result of Louis XV's mistress Madame de Pompadour commenting "Champagne isthe only wine that lets a woman remain beautiful after she has drunk it." And the rest is history, with famous (or infamous) champagne lovers including Casanova, Dumas, Wagner, Winston Churchill, James Bond and Coco Chanel.