Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve Champagne

What a year it’s been! But this particular evening I had something to celebrate, having received my second vaccine dose and, after a few days, regained my composure. I was feeling fine. Naturally, I wanted champagne.

My cellar yielded a bottle of Billecart-Salmon’s Brut Réserve. This nonvintage wine, from a house founded in 1818, crisply balances elegance and opulence. The blend is forty percent Pinot Menuier with the balance split between Pinot noir and Chardonnay; the cuvée usually includes from 50 to 60 percent reserve wine. Bottles spend 30 months en tirage before disgorgement, with a dosage that brings the finished sugar to 8 g/L.

But enough technical talk. The wine tasted like the photo above: sparkly, golden-toned, with clean lines that teeter between bright and dark. It’s gingery, the aromas fresh with notes of candied lemon peel, crystalized ginger, nut, brioche, pastry. The palate is toasty, opulent and stylish, with a bloomy mousse that crackles and glisters long after the finish.

I served it with a dish spiked with tamari, ginger, chili, and five-spice powder, and the flavors were utterly sympathetic, the umami richness of both offset by piquancy and polish. Bonne santé à tous!

Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve Champagne

12% abv | $38; imported by Perfecta Wine Company

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