Champagne Billecart Salmon release the 2008 Cuvée Nicolas François, and it’s a stunner

Champagne Billecart Salmon have released the 2008 vintage of one of their flagship wines, the Cuvée Nicolas François. This is a blend of 83% Grands Crus and 17% Premiers Crus. 60% Pinot Noir from the Premiers and Grands crus of the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne ( Aÿ, Verzenay et Mareuil-sur-Aÿ). 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs (Mesnil, Chouilly, Cramant). Dosage of 2.9 g/litre, after spending 150 months on lees.

Mathieu Roland-Billecart, CEO Champagne Billecart Salmon

I feel full of hope and expectation for its ageing potential,’ says CEO Mathieu Roland-Billecart, ‘and I’m proud that we have been patient to release it.’ He says that ageing on lees is one of the critical components in making such a fine, precise wine, one he describes as having mineral tension and potential. ‘Family owned and run, we have the luxury of taking time,’ adds Mathieu, noting that some of the other houses have moved to releasing their prestige cuvées younger in recent years.

Champagne Billecart Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François 2008 France
Complex, lively and direct with a core of intense citrus fruit (lemon and lime) with some subtle apple, toast and honey notes adding interest and depth. There’s a bit of structure here and great acidity, and some notes of cherries, plum and lime. Very fine and expressive, this is an immense wine. Thrilling. 97/100

We also tried the 1998 vintage from large format (jeroboam).

Champagne Billecart Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François 1998 France
So expressive and vinous, this is a real treat. Toasty, spicy and rich with just moderate bubbliness and complex notes of truffle, pear and peach with some salty character. There are hints of honey and brioche, but the complex flavours aren’t crude or obvious: this is a wine of class and harmony. 97/100

Here’s my note on the previous release, tasted last year:

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François 2007 France
12.5% alcohol. This is 79% Grands Crus, 21% Premier Crus. 60% is Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and La Vallée de la Marne, and 40% is Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs. 15% of the wine is barrel fermented in old oak. Dosage is 6 g/litre, disgorged July 2019. This is a powerful wine with aromas of toast, honey, hazelnut and ripe apple, with some cherry and pear. The palate is bold and full, with honey, toast, bread and spice notes as well as some fresh citrus notes accompanying the rich, peachy fruit. Lots going on here: a real impact wine. 94/100

See also: a vertical of Billecart-Salmon Le Clos Saint-Hilaire