Billecart-Salmon Sous Bois, a homage to tradition

by Chiara Giovoni 08/25/17
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Billecart-Salmon Sous Bois, un omaggio alla tradizione

As a homage to the tradition of making wine in wood, Maison Billecart-Salmon has created Brut Sous Bois, a non-vintage cuvée made with grapes that were totally fermented and aged in barrels. 

Billecart-Salmon is one of the latest family-run Maisons to dedicate a prestigious cuvée to its founders. Brut Sous Bois is an emblematic homage to a style and tradition that is not a fad but an identity. Billecart-Salmon, in fact, has always stuck to Champagne’s the traditional winemaking methods while at the same time introducing innovations to allow it to continue in its quest for excellence, introducing the use of stainless steel vats in the 1950s and long, low-temperature fermentation.

The history of the Maison dates back almost to the birth of Champagne, to 1818 when a young couple decided to get married and unite their surnames and create a winemaking estate. He was Nicolas-Francois Billecart, the descendent of an important family that included a wine consultant to King Louis XIII, and she was Elisabeth Salmon. The Maison was headquartered at their lovely family home in Mareuil-sur-Ay and being both hard-working and enterprising, they immediately focused on exporting to America and Australia.

Today the Billecart-Salmon legend lives on with Francois and Antoine Roland-Billecart, the family’s sixth generation, who continue the family tradition under the watchful eye of their father, Jean-Roland Billecart. The Maison is one of the rare examples left of a family-run estate in Champagne. Working with them is a qualified team who help carry on the tradition of excellence and it includes Chef de Cave Francois Domi, a guarantee of Billecart-Salmon production since 1988, and Denis Blee, the vineyard director and cellar-master for the past 20 years. Together the team oversees each individual vineyard parcel and aging of the wine in barrels. The cellar, in fact, has 450 Burgundy-style, 228-liter barrels where the wine ages and develops depth and complexity in chalk cellars that date back to the 17th and 19th century.

Brut Sous Bois was created as a homage to this tradition of winemaking in wood and the magnificent barrels they have in the cellar. It is a non-vintage cuvée made with grapes that were entirely fermented and then aged in wood. This is a Champagne with great personality that many wine lover define as gourmand thanks to how well it pairs with a meal.

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