Billecart-Salmon Les Clos Saint-Hilaire 1998

Pinot Noir Champagnes Ay France
A most rare and elusive Champagne, a Blanc de Noirs which bears the name of the patron saint of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The one hectare Clos Saint-Hilaire has always belonged to the Billecart-Salmon family, and responds to the most stringent norms, a single unbroken and enclosed plot with a complete wine processing facility in situ. Its vines, planted and pampered, are the elan of Grand cru. The magic of the soil and skill of handling, bond into a pure vineyard wine, fashioned exclusively from Champagne's finest Pinot Noir.
The passion for the vine is visible in the gardens surrounding the Billecart-Salmon Chateau, designed by Charles Rolland Bilecart in the 1920s. It grows the humble rose Chasselas, a lowly table grape grafted from vines originally planted by the estate's founder. Beyond the Billecart-Salmon name lies a patronage of high art and a respect for the land, qualities which drive the House's demand for quality, and the determination to craft exceptional objects. The utilization of modern Cuverie and small coopered burgundy casks are all part of the winemaking process. Much more than a superior Champagne, Billecart-Salmon expresses a style that can only be described as finesse, balance and grace.
Crafted and released only in oustanding vintages, receiving the most intimate handling by a seventh generation maker of fine Champagne. To enable Clos Saint-Hilaire to realize it's potential as a single Cru wine, Billecart-Salmon has elected to omit the liqueur doseage usually applied to Champagne. This has heightened the masculinity of the wine and focused the fruit to express a tiny but elite Pinot Noir vineyard. This rare Cuvee, hallmarked by the characters of chalky and alluvial soils, stands boldly on the complexity of its aromas and dominance of fruit, as combined with a surprising freshness for such an aged wine. To be reserved for the most special company and the most memorable moments.
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