Husband and wife, Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon married in 1818 and decided to found Maison Billecart Salmon.
Nicholas then went on to partner with his brother-in-law Louis Salmon. While Nicholas oversaw all the commercial activity, Louis dedicated himself to the creation of the wines, of which he was most passionate.
Billecart-Salmon went on to face many challenges over the years but in 1958 Jean, Eldest son of Charles Roland-Billecart initiated a revolution in quality.
Jean introduced a longer fermentation at a lower temperature and finally a cold settling as part of the vinification in tanks. This new approach was heavily inspired by the traditional methods used by brewers.
The house would later go on to develop new methods to strive for excellence.
Since its creation, the house of Billecart Salmon has been run by 6 generations of the family, with the seventh now in charge of exports. Mathieu Roland-Billecart is now head of house and Deputy General Manager, with the support of Jean and François Roland-Billecart.
Denis Blée, director of the vineyard and wines, for the last twenty years responsible for the Clos Saint-Hilaire and the oak Chai. From the pruning to the harvest, he rigorously surveys each parcel of the vineyard and ensures the maturing of the wines in the oak casks.
As time has passed, each new generation has played a vital role in the development of Champagne Billecart Salmon, and the house is now celebrating over 200 years of independence and expertise over the past 7 generations.
The champagnes of Maison Billecart-Salmon are above all created thanks to the knowledge of the men who rigorously cultivate the vineyards, obtaining grapes from an area totaling 300 hectares across 40 crus of the Champagne region.
The majority of the grapes used for vinification come from a radius of 20km around Epernay, where the Grand Crus of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay co-exist, in the ethereal vineyards of the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs.
The chalk cellars date from 17th and 19th centuries and stand guard over the House’s precious cargo. Over time, the wines assert themselves and the aromas develop, imprinted with all the finesse, balance and elegance which are characteristic of the personality of the House’s champagnes.
Over three to four years in cellars the non-vintage champagnes really blossom, staying around twice as long as the fixed regulations of the appellation.
The vintage cuvées patiently wait ten years before they begin to reveal their maturity. Allowing time to play its role is behind the grandeur of Billecart-Salmon champagnes.
As part of the ever present quest to maintain the quality of their champagnes, in the fifties, the House established the technique of cold settling combined with the use of stainless steel tanks for a longer fermentation at a lower temperature.
The cuverie concentrates primarily on small thermoregulated cuves (47 hectolitres) which allows the House to observe the traceability of the grape varieties and the individual parcels.
This vinification is carried out cru by cru and grape variety by grape variety which allows for the conservation of the nuances of expression of the terroir.
In vinifying at a low temperature, the fermentation process slows down, encouraging ethereal aromas, which are delicate and allow all the purity of the fruit to be expressed. It is the absolute signature of the Billecart-Salmon style.