FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Bears the Fruit of a Generations-Long Pedigree and Thoughtful Technique

by Kelly Magyarics

Jun 4, 2024

© Kelly Magyarics

June 2024

Strawberry lemon meringue pie. That’s how I described Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé the first time I sipped it, falling in love with its extraordinary interplay of freshness and structure, red fruit and citrus, drinkability and complexity.


© Kelly Magyarics

Last summer I strolled the vineyards in Aÿ-Champagne with seventh-generation winemaker Mathieu Billecart. Family-owned and -operated for more than 100 years, the house uses mostly fruit grown on the estate or on leased land — unusual for a region where many producers purchase grapes. Ahead of its time, Billecart-Salmon is the OG Champagne grower — a current trend among sommeliers and fizz fanatics.

Among the 740 acres under vine, 92 percent lie within a 12-mile radius of the property. Pinot Noir comes from the chalkiest six villages in Montagne de Reims, Pinot Meunier from vines planted in clay soil from four villages in Vallée de la Marne, and Chardonnay from six villages in the Côtes de Blancs. They treat their vines like their children, Billecart said.

If that’s the case, those growing in the beloved Le Clos Saint-Hilaire might be their favorite offspring. The single-parcel plot boasts its own winemaking facilities for vintage expressions with a commitment to biodiversity and natural winemaking; beehives reside in barrels, and a shed houses equipment for biodynamic winemaking. The house uses only the highest quality first-press juice for all its Champagne, and temperature controls fermentation to retain flavor and pick up a strong, acidic backbone. Most happens in stainless steel tanks; some wine ages in used wooden barrels that boost microoxygenation and body and add a woody imprint. Two million bottles slumber in the 1.5 miles of caves for five to 14 years or longer for the prestige cuvées.


© Kelly Magyarics

Billecart-Salmon maintains an interesting philosophy toward dosage, the mixture of reserve wine and sugar added as the final step to determine sweetness level. “Dosage is the last chance to manipulate the wine,” Billecart said. “But it needs to be very precise.” To that end, they spend as much time with dosage as they do with blending. Unlike many Champagne producers which use one house liqueur, Billecart-Salmon uses a combination from any one or more of 51 small tanks.

The end result is expressions that stay true to the house style but aren’t homogenous. The NV Blanc de Blancs uses only Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, vinified in stainless steel to showcase the terroir and preserve freshness; long aging on the lees adds body and elegance. Brut Reserve has a low dosage and boasts the highest percentage of reserve wines (55 percent), from vintages 2006 to 2018; it’s complex and lifted on the palate and versatile at the table.

Brut sous Bois pays homage to the decades-old trend of barrel-fermented Champagne, produced by a fractional blending method similar to that of the sherry soleras in Jerez. Mature wines (2006–2015) bring depth and softening tannins. Brut sous Bois evokes thoughts of sitting around the fireplace and makes an unbelievable match for veal, mushroom risotto and other umami-rich dishes.

An easy daytrip from Paris, Billecart-Salmon opens a new visitors’ center this summer; tastings are booked three months in advance by appointment only. But a peek behind the philosophy of this renowned house and its special wines proves a truly incomparable experience.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore Excursions


Insta Feed

Balearic Islands Tighten Tourism Laws

Spain’s Balearic Islands’ government recently announced tighter laws targeting excessive tourism. The new law bans drinking on public roads and prohibits shops from selling alcohol late at night. Tourists found breaking these rules could be fined up to €3,000.

Hit the High Notes in Nashville

Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.

NH Collection Debuts in Finland

The new NH Collection Helsinki Grand Hansa marks the brand’s latest property. Located in the center of the Finnish capital, the property combines two historically significant buildings, Hotel Seurahuone and Student House. The hotel features 224 guestrooms and suites, including a grand, 1,722-square-foot presidential suite.

Global City Guidebook: Toronto

Toronto, Canada’s largest and most populated city, sits on Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore. Ontario’s capital city, it boasts a skyscraper-crowded skyline dominated by the iconic CN Tower, but it also features many green spaces and 530 miles of the Bikeways Network. With 158 distinct neighborhoods, the city is known for its multiculturalism as well as being a world leader in technology, finance and entertainment.

Reconnecting the World: GBTA Convention 2023 Spotlights the Vital Role of Business Travel and In-Person Connection

In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention remains an indispensable platform for business travel industry professionals seeking to make the most of the power of face-to-face connections. Taking place August 13–15 in Dallas, the 2023 GBTA Convention provides the unique opportunity for professionals and companies to join visionaries, thought leaders and industry experts for meaningful networking, cutting-edge insights and inspiring innovation.

Jul 12, 2024

New York’s Dominick Hotel Opens Rooftop for Summer

With the rooftop season already upon us, it is time to start thinking about visiting one of New York City’s resort-style oasis for cold summer cocktails and great city views.

Jul 11, 2024

Patrick Mouratoglou Partners with The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón on Tennis Center

World-renowned tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced a partnership with The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón to debut the first Mouratoglou Tennis Center in Florida. The center opened in early summer 2024 boasting training camps, private lessons, leagues and retreats that deliver a premium tennis experience.

Extend Your Stay In Trendy Madrid

With its rich artistic and natural heritage, its outstanding transport network, the quality of its accommodation, its excellent gastronomy, and the passion with which the people of Madrid enjoy both the day and the night, the capital of Spain is one of the most attractive cities in the world.

Jul 10, 2024

Canada’s Gardens Explode with Colors and Scents in Summer

During a Québec summer, nature puts on a unique display of vibrant seasonal scents and flashes of color. From learning about indigenous flora and traditions at Space for Life Botanical Garden and enjoying the fragrant lavender fields at Bleu Lavande, to seeing beautifully landscaped gardens at La Seigneurie de l'île d'Orléans, creating a hand-picked floral arrangement at Ferme Florale Libella, and exploring the historically and culturally rich grounds at Reford Gardens, there’s no shortage og places to experience Québec’s spring flowers.