40% chardonnay, 30% pinot from the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne, 30% meunier from the Vallée de la Marne and the southern slopes of Épernay; less than 8% red wine; 40% reserves; vinified in stainless steel tanks; full malolactic fermentation; aged 36 months on lees; 9g/L dosage; DIAM
Some 20% of Billecart’s production is rosé (400,000 bottles), claimed to be the biggest proportion of rosé among Champagne’s larger houses (though Moët may have just caught up). The house now dedicates 15 hectares in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Ambonnay to red wine for rosé. The utter restraint of the house places delicate rosés very close to its heart, dubbed internally ‘champagne rosé’ rather than ‘rosé champagne’. Antoine recounts a tasting in which he poured the wine into black glasses for sommeliers. Not one identified it as a rosé. ‘When my grandfather began producing rosés in the early 1960s, most thought it a fanciful, artificial wine that lacked purity,’ he recalls. ‘He persevered, convinced it would have its place. Those sceptics are now making their own!’Tyson Stelzer
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