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"In the 1950s my grandmother set aside this park-like space next to our house in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ with vines, flowers and fruit trees, for our enjoyment. Realising this outstanding terroir's potential, my family decided to plant the first Pinot Noir vines here in 1964. We tried using the Pinot Noir to make white wine in small Burgundy barrels: an outstanding champagne was about to be born. After several years of painstakingly tending the vines, the 1995 harvest, the first year of this unique cuvée, was remarkable. We called it Le Clos Saint-Hilaire after the patron saint of the church in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. No more than 3,500 to 7,500 bottles are produced each year and each is individually numbered."
François Roland-Billecart, 6th Generation
The one-hectare Clos Saint-Hilaire meets the strictest guidelines: a single enclosed, contiguous parcel with complete winemaking facilities on site. The terroir's magic combined with the wine maker's skills make this wine exceptional.
Made only from Pinot Noir vinified in casks, it develops an outstanding purity. Billecart-Salmon decided to add very little liqueur, or dosage, after disgorgement in order to let the typicality of the single grape used to make this great wine evolve.
The Clos Saint-Hilaire is a single parcel where the vines, soil and subsoil are carefully tended with respect for the environment. Several years ago, BILLECART-SALMON decided to return to ancestral champagne-making methods in the Clos Saint-Hilaire by using work horses.
This method of maintaining the soil and tending the vines increases porosity and biodiversity: the roots grow deep and the minerals they draw from the soil foster the growth of smaller, more concentrated grapes, revealing the terroir's typical flavour.
This Blanc de Noirs cuvée is vinified in oak casks, allowing the richness of the terroir and the purity of the wine to express itself. For each vintage, there is a limited release of between 3,500 to 6,500 individually numbered bottles, reserved for those very special moments.
A cold winter and springtime frosts laid the foundations for this vintage of abundant yields (12,997 kg/ha). Uneventful flowering was followed by exceptionally hot and sunny weather, which lasted until August. A dank August left producers fearful but fortunately warm, bright conditions in September redressed the balance. Harvest commenced on September 9th, producing grapes high in sugar level but notably low on acidity. The general health of the grapes was sufficient, producing wines which excel over the preceding 2005 vintage, another warm and ample year. The year's greatest wines are supple and expressive and despite the richness they escape being overly heavy. Overt and welcoming upon launch, the best come with excellent capacity for ageing. Winey, and richly fruity characters, most Champagnes regrettably miss some tension and finesse. Wines of the vintage include Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Krug Vintage and Dom Pérignon Rosé.