Billecart Salmon’s latest release – Brut Sous Bois
I rang up my friend Luiz (The London Foodie) the other day and asked him if he wanted to help me drink the latest release of Billecart Salmon champagne, the Brut Sous Bois as I hate to drink alone and nobody was home at the time. Being a good friend, and living just round the corner, Luiz agreed to help me out.
“Sous Bois” literally means “under oak” and that is what Billecart-Salmon have done with their latest release, The Brut Sous Bois. The wines used to make the final blend have all been vinified entirely in oak.
Billecart has gone back to the original way that the Champenois used to make their champagne by doing everything entirely in oak. Vinifing and aging in oak gives the wines body and texture as well as toasty,or in this case toastier notes. All three traditional Champagne grapes were used to make the wine, chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot muenier.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but on opening it, my nose was greeted with the enticing aromas of toast, ripe apples cinnamon and brioche, a bouquet of smells for my nose. The wine was a bright yellow in colour with teeny, tiny persistent bubbles. Looking at the glass, the bubbles could have almost been mistaken for moving pinpricks.
On the palate, a rich and well balanced wine, the bubbles tap-dancing around my mouth and a complex palate of baked apples, yeasty-ness, grapefruit and a hint of toffee seemed to all be competing for attention. The finish was incredibly long and persistent, a champagne that was very easy to savour.
I just so happened to have some saucisson with me and the fattiness of the sausage was washed clean away by the bubbles. A good champagne to have around for those Sunday afternoon lunches. Both Luiz and I thought this was a champagne that was tasting more vintage then non-vintage, excellent balance, not too rich but having good body and quite aromatic. Definitely, a winner. It looks like Billecart’s gamble on producing a champagne the way they used to back in the day, has paid off.
The only quibble I may have with the champagne is not about what’s in the bottle but what’s out, namely, the label! A psychedelic swirl of brown and tan, it was almost impossible to read the back label without getting a headache – but c’est la vie, the champagne was great!
The Brut Sous Bois has not yet been released in the UK but should be in the very near future.