2008 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart" NFB Brut Champagne

SKU #1669353 98 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark Based on 60% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay, with 17% raised in barrels, the 2008 Champagne Nicolas François spent more than 150 months on its lees, with 2.9 grams per liter dosage. It pours a rich straw hue and is layered and long with aromas of truffle, apricot, croissant, floral orange blossoms, and marmalade. Full-bodied, it’s supple in texture, with a rounded mousse, and has a long-lasting, mouthwatering finish. Exceptionally well-balanced, it comes together seamlessly on the finish. This will be a wine to enjoy over the next three decades. (AF) Inner quote mark (11/2023)

97 points Decanter

Outer quote mark On release this is reserved, taut and subtle, with sourdough, confit lemon and gentle blackberry Pinot fruit presented with daring dryness (just 2.9g/L residual sugar) and intensity. The texture surrounding the firm acidity is cool, clean and lightly creamy, the mousse beautifully delicate. Somewhat inscrutable and firm at the moment, this structured and lean Cuvée Nicolas François stands to gain considerable expressiveness with time under cork. Made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from 83% grand cru vineyards. 17% oak-vinified with 150 months on lees, disgorged in summer 2022. (TH) Inner quote mark (5/2023)

97 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Lovely precision and drive to this with aromas of lemon curd, brioche, praline, apricots, pomelos, mandarin zest and salted caramel. It’s held together by a sharp, citrusy backbone of acidity, balanced with a fine, silky mousse. Both structure and softness here. Citrus fruit brightness on a beautifully elegant and seamless finish. Inner quote mark (4/2023)

96 points Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2008 Brut Cuvée Nicolas François was disgorged during the third quarter of 2022 with less than three grams per liter. It has a delicate, pure, clean bouquet with aromas of orchard fruits, spring flowers, honey and licorice, with hints of brioche and pastry with aeration. Medium to full-bodied, chiseled and crystalline, with racy acids and a chalky texture, the palate is tense and the finish is long, penetrating and salty. It exhibits perfect Billecart style, yet tension is present, a sign of the vintage. It is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir (sourced from Aÿ, Mareuil and Verzenay) and 40% Chardonnay from Mesnil, Chouilly and Cramant, and it matured 83% in tanks and 17% in old oak barrels. (YC) Inner quote mark (4/2023)

96 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 2008 Brut Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart is an electric, nervy Champagne that very much reflects the style of the year. Crushed rocks, mint, spice, dried herbs, hazelnut, lemon peel and marzipan are all beautifully laced together. The 2008 is just entering its first plateau of maturity, making it a fine choice for drinking now and over the next two decades, possibly more. The blend id 60% Pinot Noir (from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy and Verzenay) and 40% Chardonnay (from Mesnil, Chouilly and Cramant). It's a terrific effort, although I must add that a recent visit made it pretty clear that even better things lie ahead. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. (AG) Inner quote mark (3/2023)

94 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark A vibrant Champagne, with vivid acidity enmeshed with the lacy mousse, creating a fine frame for flavors of black currant and apricot fruit, preserved lemon, toast and ground coffee. Reveals minerally hints of oyster shell and brine that linger on the finish. (AN, Web-2023) Inner quote mark

K&L Notes

The 2008 Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart (NFB for short) is composed of almost entirely grand cru fruit, but with the addition of 17% from their home village, the premier cru of Mareuil-sur-Ay. It is 60% Pinot Noir hailing from that village, Ay, and Verzenay, and 40% Chardonnay from Mesnil, Chouilly and Cramant. It is primarily a stainless steel fermented champagne, but sees 17% oak barrel fermentation to add richness. After 13 years on the lees, it only required 2.9 g/l of dosage to come into balance. -Gary Westby, K&L

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Price: $229.99

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Product Reviews:

By: Philip Roufail | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/26/2023 | Send Email
Along with the 2008 Krug, the 2008 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart" NFB Brut Champagne is already being called one of the top champagnes of the vintage, which is saying a lot because 2008 is universally considered the best vintage of the 21st century. What makes the 2008 so special in comparison to other lauded vintage years? Champagne's weather is lousy and erratic. Even in vintage years the physiological development of the grapes' ripeness and acidity can be erratic as well. In 2008, however, there was constant sunshine, which allowed the grapes to gradually ripen to perfection, and a constant cold breeze, which allowed the acidity to gradually develop to perfection at the same time! These goldilocks conditions are rare. Throw in a top producer who has been at the sparking game since 1818 and you've got the 2008 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart" NFB Brut Champagne. Already 25 years old, this champagne is drinking beautifully, but it's going to age forever so if you're looking for a liquid prize to store in your cellar this is the one. Enjoy!

By: Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/9/2023 | Send Email
This bubbly is gorgeous and really shows why everyone is (or should be) so in love with 2008 vintage Champagne. The nose is a bouquet of flowers, rich brioche turned into French toast, baked pear, and lemon curd. The palate is bright and elegant with laser-focused lemon, chalky minerality, fresh peaches, hazelnut, and then more of that baked pear into the finish.

By: Zaitouna Kusto | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/1/2023 | Send Email
A wine that almost needs no introduction -- the iconic Billecart-Salmon. But this isn't your basic Bille (not that Billecart is ever basic to begin with). The 2008 "Cuvee Nicolas Francois" is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. A mixture of stainless steel and 17% oak barrel fermentation, this beauty is aged for THIRTEEN years on the lees. What we are left with is a subtle, elegant Champagne that is riddled with complexity and life. The nose has hints of brioche, lilies, Gruyère, and Gala apples. The palate is creamy and rich, with plenty of acidity, itty-bitty bubbles, and an extremely long finish. While its probably not an every day sipper, it is the perfect choice for any special occasion.

By: Dejah Overby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/28/2023 | Send Email
Love the precision of the 2008 vintage Champagnes. This has to be in my top 5 and the best example of a stunning vintage. The aromatics are loads of mixed bowl of wild berries, candied ginger, almond butter sugar cookies and a slight oxidative end. This is exciting to drink now but I can also imagine this being even more exciting to open in the next 5 years of cellaring.

By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/26/2023 | Send Email
This is such a stunning release! A highly complicated nose of caramel, meringue, coconut and lemon peel. Very clean on the palate, with an extremely fine bead and flavors of baked caramel, roasted nuts and yellow apple. The finish is very long, with lemon zest, minerals and chalk. Slightly oxidative, in a very, very, good way. Not one to miss.

By: Alex Leonardini | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/12/2023 | Send Email
The 2008 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvee Nicolas Francois" is very serious stuff. This wine leans more toward power than Billecart's typically elegant style, but without tipping the scales in that direction while maintaining a balancing freshness. Confectionary notes of lemon tart, baked apple, and honeycomb fall into a lush bed of pie crust, toasted almond, marzipan, and hazelnut while the finish rounds back out to a long, clean line of white stone fruit flecked with minerality. I can't exactly call a wine with this price tag a value, but if you're looking at the upper echelons of Champagne and can't decide, well, this suddenly seems like an obvious choice.

By: Michael Benoit | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/12/2023 | Send Email
Another stunning 2008 from Billecart-Salmon! The Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart has a nose full of delicate yellow apples, along with lightly toasted almonds and brioche. Made almost entirely from Grand Cru fruit, this blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay is at once rich and elegant. The extremely soft and velvety texture on the palate gives away the long aging this bottle sees, but I was blown away by how much freshness and verve it still retains. On the finish there is plenty of chalky minerality and delicious marzipan nuttiness, balanced by a crisp acidity and lingering notes of fresh orchard fruits. An absolutely classic bottle of champagne, this is one for the ages!

By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/12/2023 | Send Email
The excellent 2008 vintage produced some of the most memorable bottles of champagne of this millennium so far, and I would honestly put this one near the top of that list. Made entirely from Grand Cru vineyards, and finally being released after 15 years of necessary aging, the aromatics are complex and spectacular. Lemon marzipan, raw honey, dark cherries, soft subtle toast and hazelnuts come to mind. There is also an unmistakable dried lemon character that only comes from time. Everything is so balanced and integrated, with a long glowing finish typical of the vintage. Compared to the soaring prices of the other prestige cuvees out there, this is a pretty wondrous bottle of champagne for the money.

By: Lilia McIntosh | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/11/2023 | Send Email
Gorgeous Champagne from Billecart Salmon, full bodied, powerful, with developed, rich and nutty note, roasted hazelnut, marzipan and red apple notes and deep mineral strike. Dry and crisp, it lingers on the palate for a very long time and leaves memorable experience. It's a beauty!

By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/6/2023 | Send Email
To say that I was impressed by this wine would be an understatement. The 2008 vintage remains the greatest of my 23-year career buying champagne, and this, along with the Krug and Cuvée Louis Blanc de Blancs, also from Billecart, will be locked in a battle for the best wine of that vintage for generations to come. The wine has a beautiful light gold color, and the most gorgeous tiny streamers, both a product of the incredible patience that this house has shown in ageing this monumental cuvée. The bouquet shows off the Verzenay Pinot Noir in the blend with a fine, detailed hazelnut bread aroma that has the generosity of Richebourg. In the mouth, the wine has an autumnal style, with nougat and warm panettone notes. The finish is what sets this wine apart, and for me is the greatest feature of the wine; it manages kaleidoscopic complexity with yet more nutty depth fused to pure, clean white fruit and chalk. The back end could be from the best pure Mesnil chardonnay on the planet, and is so long and mineral that I am still haunted by it days later.
Drink from 2023 to 2058

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