1999 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart" NFB Brut Champagne
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Yellow-gold. Powerful smoky, floral aromas of poached pear, orange pith, dried fig and iodine, with a smoky topnote. Rich and deeply pitched but almost shockingly energetic on the palate, offering a bracing mineral character to its citrus and orchard fruit flavors. The smoky quality comes back on the finish, which shows superb clarity and finishing thrust. This Champagne's marriage of power and vivacity is pretty impressive.
Wine & Spirits
A complex and dynamic Champagne, this layers the cinnamon scent of oak over white chalk and fresh pear, all deepened by an umami richness (a portion of the blend was aged in neutral oak barrels). It has the light grandeur of the 1999 vintage and appears to be at an optimal moment for drinking right now.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Billecart-Salmon 1999 Brut Nicolas Francois Billecart – its Pinot predictably from the Montagne de Reims and Chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs – accompanies aromatic overtones of yeast and baked goods with an almost doughy sense of substantiality and plushness, yet features as well the buoyancy and the bright lemony and crabapple-y acidity with attendant cut and freshness that are hallmarks of this house’s style. The understatement to this cuvee’s melange of herbs ranging from lemon verbena to blond tobacco as well as its subtly alkaline and chalky undertone are also characteristics I associate with the name Billecart-Salmon; and nutty hints of evolution are quite discrete, suggesting a younger wine. Metaphorically cooling; laid-back and soothing; yet offering stimulating refreshment and intrigue, this will probably be well worth following for another 4-6 years. (DS)