2002 Billecart-Salmon "Le Clos Saint-Hilaire" Brut Blanc de Noirs

Year: 2002
Appellation: Champagne
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 94
Wine Advocate: 98
James Suckling: 100
Wine Enthusiast: 100
Decanter: 98
Sparkling Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.5%
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"A firm, focused version, wrapping the steely frame of acidity in a fine, satiny mousse that carries well-meshed notes of toasted almond, dried apricot, fleur de sel and crystallized honey. Aging gracefully, this lingers on the finish, with hints of ground cumin and ginger. Drink now through 2027. 308 cases made. -AN" (WS)

"Entirely vinified in oak and disgorged in May 2018, after 15 years on the lees in bottle, the 2002 Millésime Brut Le Clos Saint-Hilaire is a single-plot Blanc de Noirs from Pinot Noir vines planted in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ in 1964. Highly fine and pure on the deep, elegant and spicy nose, with intense mirabelle and apricot flavors, this is a pure, salty, very finessed yet tensioned, complex, mineral and refreshing Pinot with intense and well-concentrated fruit, a juicy texture and persistent structure. The finish is very long but pure, fresh, salty and, in any case, highly stimulating! Total production: 3,700 bottles. Tasted November 2018.

This is an impressive range of new releases from Billecart-Salmon, and the finesse and purity is outstanding. The 2002 Clos Saint-Hilaire Blanc de Noirs is stellar, as is the 2006 Cuvée Nicolas François and the 2007 Cuvée Elisabeth, one of the finest rosés in the Champagne region." (WA)

"From a one-hectare parcel of pinot noir, planted in 1964. This makes such a striking impression with incredible freshness and purity, married with such intensity and length. The aromas of fresh, toasted almond are striking. Fresh forest mushrooms, too. The palate has intensity that is truly bracing and delivers such power and length. Exceptional! Drink or hold." (JS)

"Editors' Choice, From just over two acres of old vines in the producer's home village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, this pure Pinot Noir Champagne is magnificent. A toasty flavor is balanced by concentrated white fruits, with a touch of tannin adding texture. It's an unforgettable wine. Enjoy in the nearterm. -Roger Voss" (WE)

"Just 3,700 bottles of this rare and magnificent specimen have been produced, from this exceptional Champagne Clos in the heart of Ay and the maison itself. The wine is 100% Pinot Noir from a parcel of vines planted back in 1964. Vinified in oak, it then spent a total of 15 years on its lees, prior to release earlier this year in 2019 with a dosage of just 1g/l. From one of Champagne’s most acclaimed vintages, this shows a welter of densely integrated fruit and flavour. Supremely generous, ripe and intense, but not overwrought, this exhibits layers of bruised apple, spice, cappuccino and savoury sous-bois and truffle. The acidity is soft and round and plays second fiddle to the power, texture and vinosity on the palate. Very gourmandise, this cries out for richly flavoured food – or to be drunk as a vin de contemplation. Either way, this is superb now and will age for years and years and then some more.." (Decanter)