H. Billiot "Brut Reserve" Champagne (Previously $53)
Richly spiced, with a skein of ground clove, ginger and cardamom winding through flavors of dried apricot and apple, currant candy, passion fruit and lemon zest. Beautiful texture and balance here, followed by a long and mouthwatering, mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2020.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(75% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay from Ambonnay, 50% from 2010, 25% from 2009 and 25% from 2008; disgorged in July, 2013 after two years on its lees): Light yellow. Pungent aromas of poached pear, strawberry, orange pith and gingery spices. Juicy, penetrating citrus fruit flavors give way to deeper red berries with air and pick up a smoky nuance. Finishes spicy and long, with lingering floral character and good clarity.
The NV Brut Grand Cru Réserve shows the breadth of Ambonnay in its rich, beautifully resonant fruit. Dried pears, flowers, mint and licorice all blossom in the glass. This is a decidedly extroverted NV Champagne with no shortage of personality. The Brut Grand Cru Réserve is 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, 50% 2010 and 25% each 2009 and 2008. This bottle was disgorged in July 2013. Dosage was 11 grams/liter.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Billiot’s NV Brut Reserve Grand Cru is beautiful in all of its quirky eccentricities. Mirabelle plums, hard candy and flowers are all woven together in this intensely perfumed Champagne. This release is based on the 2009 vintage, with 50% reserve wines from 2008 and 2007. The combination of the warm base year (2009) and the dosage of 10 grams per liter yielded a wine that is on the sweet side. At times, the volatile acidity is also quite pronounced. Disgorgement date: August 2012. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.
This full-bodied offering is ripe and richly balanced. A predominance of the two Pinots gives it an intense fruitiness, with raspberry and red apple notes dominating. At the same time, there is a fine, mineral-driven tautness that gives it a final, crisp bite. Disgorged February 2012.