Bubbles in the City, Billecart-Salmon
“Billecart, it’s the perfect Champagne for the Rainbow Room,” said Molly Cohen of the Rainbow Room and SixtyFive Lounge, where the Billecart Brut Reserve is offered in magnum, alongside the Brut Rosé, and by the glass. “I’ve always been a fan. There’s been a lot of excitement once I could get my hands on it. You always feel a little giddy when you pop a bottle of Billecart. As a glass pour, the Brut Reserve works perfectly. It’s a food wine.” As a destination for momentous occasions and its stunning views of Manhattan, the Rainbow Room also offers the Brut Rosé NV and the Cuvée Nicolas Francois Billecart 1999 on its bottle list.
“The Brut Rosé is the best NV Rosé on the market,” said Aaron Thorp of the Standard Hotel. “I love the aromatic quality. It’s stunning. People love the Rosé. They go crazy for it. I think it’ll be a destination Champagne because it’ll be available by the glass.” Offering the Billecart Rosé by the glass at The Top of the Standard, Aaron also lists the Billecart Brut Reserve, Brut Rosé and the Nicolas Francois Billecart 1999 by the bottle at the Grill.
Founded in 1818 when Nicolas Francois Billecart married Elisabeth Salmon, Billecart-Salmon originated in this marriage of love, family and vines. Now managed by the seventh generation, it is the oldest continuously family owned and operated house in Champagne. Working with 15ha of estate vineyards, the house owns 11ha in the Vallee de la Marne, with 4ha of Grand Cru in Ay and Premier Cru in Mareuil-sur-Ay and 7ha in the village of Damery, and 4ha of Grand Cru vineyards in the villages of Chouilly, Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.
“The nice thing about Billecart-Salmon is that it walks the line of being an esoteric Champagne, which can be hit or miss,” said Aaron. “Champagne people know Billecart. It’s a wine lovers’ Champagne. It’s a sommelier’s Champagne. I always look at [a winery’s] entry level to judge a product because everyone can make a great Grand Cru. The Brut NV has always been solid and the vintage has gotten better over the years.”
“We’ve worked with Billecart-Salmon for years at The Dutch,” said Matt Eisentraut of Lafayette. “We opened with it at Locanda. I love the crispness and focus of it. Its moderate to low dosage. You can compare it to other sparklings, but the richness, the complexity…the others have high RS that make them flabby. You can drink the Billecart Brut Reserve alone or pair it with food. It’s really fresh; it’s really good.” Offering the Billecart Brut Reserve NV by the bottle and glass, the Champagne listing at Lafayette includes: Billecart Brut Rosé NV, Blanc de Blancs NV and the Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Rosé 2002.
“The Blanc de Blancs is delicious,” he added. “People don’t always know. It always amazes me how iconic it is. People can see the Rosé from across the room. We’ll always have it on the list. It’s such a go-to.”
At The Lambs Club, A.J. Ojeda-Pons is currently on the lookout for a saber that can handle the Billecart large format bottles that he’ll be pouring on New Year’s Eve. “Billecart-Salmon is our feature Champagne for New Year’s,” he said. Sabering a bottle of Champagne daily, A.J. is more than ready to tackle the bottles of Brut Reserve NV Jeroboam and Methuselah that his lucky diners will be imbibing before heading outside for a midnight toast under the ticker tape at Times Square.
“I like the Billecart Rosé a lot for every day drinking,” he said. “And the Blanc de Blancs is the most elegant and refined. I opened the Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Rosé 1999 for my mother’s birthday. I had a bottle in the cellar and said, Today is the day!”
Recently named the Nation’s Best Dressed Somm by Penfolds and GQ Magazine, A.J. features a number of Billecart offerings on his list including the Brut Rosé by the half-bottle and glass, and the Vintage 2004 and the Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV by the bottle. “My motto is to drink Champagne every day,” said A.J., who earlier spoke on the Good Day New York show this year about his preference for bubbly over still wines. “I like to make Champagne approachable, so I try to reflect this in the pricing.” Perhaps in lieu of an apple, A.J. added, “I drink at least a glass a day.”
For more on Billecart-Salmon, read here.