2007 Billecart-Salmon, Cuvée Louis Salmon, Brut Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France
Billecart-Salmon’s elite blanc de blancs is named after Louis, the brother of Elisabeth Salmon, who co-founded this illustrious Champagne house more than two centuries ago with her husband Nicolas François Billecart. The 2007 vintage is only the second release of this cuvée and it is even more sophisticated than the 2006, to which I gave a mighty 19/20 score in my notes! This wine gains a fulsome 19.5/20 score.
It is made from a blend of three grands crus: Cramant, which brings pin-sharp acidity to the mix; Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, which loads structure and longevity into its frame; and Chouilly, which anchors this stunning creation into the Côtes des Blancs soil with its devastating minerality. This is a sensational wine. Billecart has augmented its oak imprint from 15% in 2006 to 50% in 2007 and yet I can barely sense the increase given that the wine is in silky, lascivious harmony. It has aged for nearly a decade on its lees and it is ready to go right now.
Every time you let this wine caress your palate it does so with a discreet, but highly enjoyable pinch of drama on the back end of each sip. As I get older, I prefer to save myself for the wines that really matter, turning down all but those wines I know pass my sky-high standards. This 2007 Louis is one of only a handful of truly great Champagnes I have tasted in the last 12 months and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com).