This cuvée subscribes to the belief that the essence of the three Champenois grape varieties lies in the soul
Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Nature
of Champagne. Billecart-Salmon has chosen to accentuate the character of the Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay grapes by adding no sugar to the dosage. Since its inception in 1818, Billecart-Salmon has always been known for its patience when it comes to making Champagne and Brut Nature is a beneficiary of that dedication to excellence. Billecart-Salmon Brut Nature is a blend of ten vintages that span 2006-2016. It spends 42 months on its lees before undergoing three weeks of cold settling.
Brut Nature opens with a mix of yeast and floral notes. You can’t build a good Champagne without a good structure to support it and this Champagne has a solid one that boasts an alluring pale yellow color and streams of fine bubbles that add a sense of sophistication to your glass. On the palate, flavors of apple and citrus are carried on a very dry medium body enhanced by bright acidity. The finish is proportional and refreshing. I believe this Champagne shows best when enjoyed in a pairing, especially a pairing with seafood. B-S Brut Nature’s acidity brings out the flavor of any seafood and its 12% ABV allows it to be easily paired. My suggested pairings would include sushi, ceviche, shellfish, and any preparation of fish. The finish on B-S Brut Nature is very dry and cleansing, allowing it to freshen your palate throughout your meal. A no sugar added dosage Champagne is not for everyone but if you try it in a situation that allows it to shine it may be just what you have been looking for.
Photo Credit: Billecart-Salmon Champagne
To say 2020 has been a difficult year would be an understatement of monumental proportions. Don’t let your haste to put 2020 behind you results in a missed opportunity to treat yourself to a New Year’s Eve toast with a great Champagne as you show the past year the door. Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois Champagne ($85) is just such a Champagne. It is a unique cuvée made with three Champenois grape varieties blended in an artful style that resurrects the heart and soul of original Champagne. The Premier and Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, Premier, and Grand Cru Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and Pinot Meunier from the right bank of the Vallée de la Marne are vinified entirely in oak and aged 6 to 7 years on their lees to yield a Champagne with a complex aromatic character. Brut Sous Bois displays a brilliant yellow color in the glass with sparkles of gold highlighting the steady streams of small bubbles that delight the eye. Aromas of fresh citrus and dried fruit lead your palate naturally into the bold burst of flavors featuring notes of grilled brioche and toffee, exactly what you would expect from a powerful mature wine from Champagne. Pairing suggestions include mushroom dishes, cheese (especially finely shaved Monk’s head), and poultry. This full-bodied wine will stand up to the heavier fare of the holiday season and can provide the perfect complement to steak or other grilled meat. Billecart-Salmon’s pursuit of quality doesn’t stop with what they put in the bottle but also with the label itself. Look closely and you will see the label is made from real cherry wood. To enjoy the true essence of Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois Champagne pour a glass and just savor the moment.
I have noticed that the latest trend is to go directly from Halloween into Christmas and by doing so minimizing Thanksgiving as a holiday. I find this trend to be particularly disturbing because I like Thanksgiving and the traditional family gatherings that revolve around it. We had the pleasure of celebrating our Thanksgiving with my wife’s family, several of which we haven’t seen lately. Our god-daughter Liz was among the family members we got to spend time with on that day. Liz had recently taken a job closer to home after working for a major wine importer and distributor. Luckily for us she had maintained her contacts in the industry and brought some outstanding bottles with her.
The bottle that caught my eye and my curiosity was a Cuvée Rosé Grand Cru Champagne from R.H. Coutier, a producer from Ambonnay. This French sparkler is a delicate Rosé made from 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir which explains its enchanting salmon pink color. It’s a well-balanced Champagne that opens with cream notes on the nose leading to red berries, prominently strawberries with an ever so slight hint of mint on the finish. R.H.Coutier received a 90 point rating from Wine Spectator and 92 points from Wine Advocate for this offering making it a great value ($45-$50) for a French Champagne of this quality.