Wine-dinner with Billecart-Salmon
I attended a wine-dinner with Billecart-Salmon Champagne last week at La Bonne Bouche restaurant in the Old Center organized by Vinimondo (the importer). Mr Denis Roland-Billecart was present in Bucharest and presented four wines that are included in Vinimondo’s portfolio of imports. The event brought together about 10-12 people only and it was a lovely dinner filled with plenty of interesting information about the history and the wines made by Billecart-Salmon, but also fun and good joy.
Billecart-Salmon is a Negociant-Manipulant (meaning merchant-distributor), still family owned. They purchase the bulk of the grapes they need from dozens of growers. They typically blend wines from different vintages, and vineyards, to produce house style wines that consumers can be confident will be virtually the same each year. They also own a few Pinot Noir vineyards.
Billecart-Salmon produces around 2 Millions bottles each year and 25% is sold on the domestic market in France. The rest goes out for export. According to Mr Roland-Billecart the Champagne consumption on the global level dipped 25-30% in 2008, but grew back about 40% the following year and has been on a positive trend ever since.
We had a 6 course menu prepared by an Italian chef that has a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Italy and is temporarily cooking at La Bonne Bouche. So, if you want to enjoy some interesting food you might want to have lunch or dinner at La Bonne Bouche as soon as possible, as it is not clear how long this Italian chef will cook there.
The menu consisted of: octopus with green asparagus, potatoes and balsamic reduction / tartar of tuna, salmon and seabass / risotto with seafood / grilled tuna in white sauce / cold lobster salad / dessert: creme brulee, tiramisu and mousse de chocolat.
We started with Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve, the NV Champagne that represents the house style. Medium color, citrus fruit and autolysis on the nose, yeasty, with citrus fruit, pear and minerals on the palate; medium body, low dosage, medium plus long finish, refreshing acidity. A very nice Champagne, balanced and rewarding. One of my favorites for the evening. (90-91/100)
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose is a Champagne designed for gastronomy. Light pink colored with good effervescence and tiny bubbles. This seems fuller in the mouth and tannins mark their presence. The nose shows yeast, roses, cherry, strawberry and raspberry jam but without the sweetness. Elegant and creamy on the palate, with long finish. This sparkling wine needs food. (91-92/100)
Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois is fermented and aged 100% in 2-3 years old barrels. This is a massive Champagne. Medium yellow colored, it shows spicy oak on the nose, with roasted almonds and sweet yellow apple. Mouth filling, luscious flavors on the palate, showing tannins, bold, with firm structure. Long finish, spicy and ripe yellow fruit. A totally different style, opulent and restless at this present stage. (90/100)
Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2004 is elegant and shows great tension on the palate. It has great potential to develop and has reserves of flavors, with sharp acidity, a strong mineral backbone and enough tension to make you imagine a constricted spring when you sip it. Long finish, fresh citrus fruit. 2004 was a great vintage in Champagne. My absolute favorite for the evening. (92-93/100)
It was a very enjoyable 4 hours dinner and the Champagne is great.