Champagne Billecart-Salmon Cuvée “Sous Bois” Brut
Cuvée “Sous Bois” is a relatively new bottling for the renowned Champagne house of Billecart-Salmon. Unique to their lineup, “Sous Bois” literally means “under wood” and was inspired by the oak-fermented parcels of their top cuvées. It’s aspiration is to uphold the Billecart-Salmon mandate of freshness and elegance.
The “wood” in use here are older barriques from Burgundy between the ages of five to fifteen years so that the Cuvée “Sous Bois” resounds with the classic Billecart precision yet displays a certain richness that only barrel fermentation and aging can achieve. The blend is one-third each of the three Champagne grapes, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, from Grand Cru and Premier Cru sites, mainly from the 2007 vintage but including reserve wines from the previous vintages. It was then aged in bottle for five years prior to release. There is only six grams per liter of dosage, on the very low end of Brut.
The result is a Champagne redolent of orchard fruits, lemon curd, freshly-baked pie crust, toasted anise, and a pleasant wisp of smoldering earth. A superb richness is immediately balanced by a grippy acidity that uncoils long throughout a sip.
Founded in 1818 and now managed by sixth generation Antoine Roland-Billecart, Billecart-Salmon has been a small, family-owned Champagne house based in the village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, near Epernay. The elegant delicacy of their entire range of wines is due to a house philosophy of respecting the integrity of the fruit through the entire process of winemaking and a production regime that is geared toward capturing every nuance of the fruit. Whether sourcing fruit from their own estate holdings or other growers the concept is the same: meticulous care of the vines, scrupulous selection, low dosage, and long aging. Theirs are Champagnes of crystal-clear fidelity.