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Founded in 1818 by husband and wife Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, the Billecart-Salmon House is rich with history. For nearly two hundred years, the Billecart family has been handing down the secrets to making exceptional champagne from generation to generation. The Champagne House is special for many reasons, but one notable reason is that it is one of very few to remain Family owned. The Billecart-Salmon House covers around 50 hectares, and gets its grapes from a total of 170 hectares of land. Frequently cited for the quality of its vintages, the House pays particular attention to selecting the best grapes.

There are few pleasures in life better than Rose Champagne, and there a few, if any, better experiences than ‘Billy’ Rose. A blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot  Meunier, the colour lives up to the name and is a bright salmon colour. Whilst not being the major composition in the blend, the Pinot tends to dominate a strawberry driven palate ahead of a long, long, lingering, did I mention long, finish. A fraction of the price of the top end flagship Champagnes, to me this is it!

This is by far my favourite rose, so fresh and mouth-watering. It is made without the addition of red wine (as are most); instead it is a blend of 35 per cent pinot noir, 35 per cent pinot meunier and 30 per cent chardonnay, cold-fermented in stainless steel with cultured yeasts. The intensely flowery bouquet is followed by a palate crammed with strawberry and dried flower flavours, then a joyous finish. – 96 out of 100 James Halliday

Surely the most consistent rose on the market, with a very strong and loyal following to prove the point. The pale, bright salmon-pink colour comes from the addition of 7% aromatic pinot noir table wine from Mareuil-sur-Ay, joining the 53% pinot and 40% chardonnay base wines. This release is definitely on-song, with an abundance of fragrant red berry fruits and spice on the bouquet and palate alike; then follows a long, penetrating, yet fine, finish and aftertaste. One of those Champagnes you can drink anywhere, any time. Rating: 96 points, $144; James Halliday Top 100 for 2011; The Weekend Australian, November 19th


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