Saturday, October 12, 2013

H. Billiot Fils Brut Réserve Grand Cru Champagne

H. Billiot Fils Brut Réserve Grand Cru Champagne
Ambonnay, Champagne, France

I have a secret love affair with Grower Champagne. It tends to be a touch harder to find than the big house, Negociant Champagnes, where the producer purchases grapes from a number of different growers. This bubbly from H. Billot Fils is a Propriétaire-Récoltant, meaning that the grower-producer sources all of the fruit from their own property. The idea is that Grower Champagnes allow for more expression of terrior since the grapes are coming from a single location. The downside is that the "house style" of these wines may be less consistent, since they do not have the advantage of blending grapes from multiple locations. Which is better, Grower or Negociant? I don't know. But I'll keep drinking until I find out! It's yummy work, but someone has to do it.

What else makes this Champagne special? It's from the Grand Cru rated village of Ambonnay. This is one of the best villages within Montage de Reims. This region is known to produce some of the best Pinot Noir in Champagne. Not surprisingly, this blend is Pinot heavy -- 75 percent -- with the balance made up of Chardonnay.

Review: The H. Billiot Brut Réserve is a delight. It's a soft straw yellow color with a finely bubbled mousse. It has a lovely bouquet of  ripe apples, white peaches and apricots. In addition to the fruit, the wine presents some light toasty notes. The bouquet resonates on palate, with just a hint of sweetness -- a hair past dry -- which trully compliments the flavors. Moreover, this wine has a fantastic, full mouth feel -- there's no word more perfect to describe it than voluptuous.

Food Pairing: We drank it with a lightly dressed spinach salad and a cheese plate.

Bottom Line: Absolutely delicious. I adore the taste and texture. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: Champagne AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 12.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? The Wine Country - Long Beach, CA
What's the damage? Super Premium

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