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Champagne - 1996 - Billecart Salmon Clos St Hilaire Blanc de Noirs

  • Region: Champagne
  • Vintage: 1996
  • Rating: 96
  • Notes:
    [individual owc]
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Tasting Notes



Release Price


Drink Date

2008 - 2010

Reviewed by

Antonio Galloni

Issue Date

22nd Dec 2008


180, The Wine Advocate

The estate’s 1996 Clos Saint-Hilaire emerges from a one hectare plot that was planted with 100% Pinot Noir in 1964. This golden-hued wine flows from the glass with extraordinary elegance. Delicate notes of biscuit, honey, acacia and roasted nuts are woven into a mousse of sublime refinement. Notes of white pepper, honey, pear and minerals appear on a finish that frames the wine with superb harmony. In 1998 the fermentations were extremely slow, and this wine saw no malolactic fermentation. This is an exceptionally fine, seamless Champagne that is a must-have wine for those lucky enough to find it . Anticipated maturity: 2008-2010. Billecart-Salmon, based in Mareuil-sur-Ay, makes wines in a style that is all about timeless elegance. These Champagnes are characterized by their supreme balance. All of the 2008 vins claires I tasted showed remarkable harmony and transparency of site. Much of the aromatic complexity of the wines can be attributed to a preference towards cold temperatures in fermentation, which keeps the wines fresh. The domaine uses Burgundian oak barrels for a portion of the wines. The exact amount of batonnage and malolactic fermentation depend on the vintage. Prior to being bottled the wines are blended in a large steel tank to insure consistency, something the estate takes very seriously. In general the non-vintage wines receive 7-9 grams of dosage, while the vintage wines have 5-7 grams, depending on the year. Among current releases, I found the 1998s to be brilliant, while the 2000s, from a much more challenging growing season, come across as less refined. The estate does not disclose disgorgement dates, but a code on the foil wrapping can be traced back to a date.