Champagne of the Millennium
In 1999, the Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart1959 was chosen "Champagne of the Millennium" by a committee of experts at a blind tasting session involving 150 vintages from the most illustrious champagne producers, organised in Stockholm by Richard Juhlin, a great champagne specialist. The 1961 vintage, for its part, came second.
Top 10 Champagnes by the Jury:
1/ Billecart Salmon 1959
2/ Billecart Salmon 1961
3/ Gosset 1952
4/ Dom Pérignon 1964
5/ Dom Pérignon 1961
6/ Pol Roger 1959
7/ Dom Ruinart 1979
8/ Krug Collection 1961
9/ De Venoge Des Princes 1979
10/ Paul Bara 1959
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Antoine Roland-Billecart (6th Generation) secretly signed the House up for the “Champagne of the Millennium” tasting organised byRichard Juhlin in Stockholm. At the time of the competition his father and his brother, Jean and François, refused to get involved with the tasting as they thought it too risky. Antoine asked his father which of the vintages in the House’s history he thought to be the very best and, none the wiser to his son’s intentions, Jean selected the 1959 vintage. On an impulse whilst he was in the cellars, Antoine also decided to present the 1961 vintage, the year of his birth.
Recognition of Quality
On 12 June 1999, a jury of international experts came together to judge which champagne would be awarded the title of “Champagne of the Millennium” following a blind tasting.
Among the 150 champagnes in competition were the two Billecart-Salmon vintages, the Brut 1959 and the Brut 1961. When the results were announced, these two vintages took first and second place
In his book The Great Tasting, Richard Juhlin wrote of the winner: "The perfect champagne, 1959 Billecart-Salmon, had everything one would expect of a luxury champagne, but in a seldom seen concentration and simultaneously with harmonious balance. A totally perfect champagne in its category, with a smoky, honey-smooth extremely long taste of walnut, orange blossom and chocolate. All who ever get to drink this fabulous wine just have to love the pleasure it grants. When you study the end results it is striking to see how obvious the victory was."
It was awarded a final mark of 98.5 out of 100.