Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon are married. From their union, they decide to found Maison Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, the family’s home town. Subsequently, Nicolas François joined forces with Louis Salmon, his wife’s brother. He oversaw all the commercial activity whilst his brother-in-law, who was passionate about oenology, dedicated himself to the creation of the wines.
The House took part in the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Billecart-Salmon was one of the sponsors of the famous Palais du Champagne built by the Syndicat du Commerce des Vins de Champagne and in which, next to all the other famous champagne brands, Billecart-Salmon is served by the glass.
Charles Roland-Billecart is demobilised at the end of the war and returns to find an empty House, with stocks of scarcely 75,000 bottles left in the cellars. After several long years he managed to return the House to sales of more than 217,000 bottles per year in 1936.
Jean, the eldest son of Charles Roland-Billecart, initiated a revolution in quality. Inspired by the traditional methods used by brewers, he introduced a longer fermentation at a lower temperature and finally a cold settling as part of the vinification in tanks. This technique maintains the freshness and finesse which are characteristic of Billecart-Salmon wines.
In homage to the House’s founder, the first vintage of the Cuvée Nicolas François was created.
In the 1970s, Jean Roland-Billecart decided once again to work on a champagne which had long been considered second class: a Brut Rosé. His objective was to create a champagne which was very pale in colour and whose flavour is distinguished by its freshness and subtle notes of red berries. The gamble paid off and the Brut Rosé Non-Vintage has since become the House’s flagship cuvée.
In 1993 François, the eldest son of Jean Roland-Billecart, a chess amateur and a fine strategist, took over the running of the House. He embarked upon a radical change for the House by buying back the champagne stocks from supermarkets. This was a crucial choice in order to reposition the brand and concentrate distribution towards independent retailers and fine dining establishments.
The Clos Saint-Hilaire cuvée was created in 1995.
After many years of meticulously tending the vines, the harvest in 1995 was remarkable: this is the first vintage of this cuvée which is a one of a kind. In honour of the patron saint of the church in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, it was baptised the Clos Saint-Hilaire. Since then, each bottle has been individually numbered and each vintage is made up for between no more than 3,500 to 7,500 bottles.
The 1959 Vintage was named the “Champagne of the Millennium” by a jury of experts following a blind tasting of 150 vintages from the greatest Champagne Houses organised in Stockholm by Richard Juhlin. The 1961 Vintage, for its part, came second.
The creation of a new cuverie.
It was a major choice to concentrate on small thermoregulated tanks which make it possible to observe the traceability of grape varieties and individual parcels.
A return to the ancestral methods of vinification carried out by the House was made a reality by a majestic chai made up of more than 400 small and 2 large oak casks. A richness and an aromatic complexity combine to enhance the style of the vintage wines or the Brut Sous Bois.
The inauguration of the new chai à foudres. In a continued quest for excellence, 24 large oak casks that hold 80 hectolitres have been rigorously selected from amongst the best coopers.
The House is celebrating 200 years of independence and expertise over the past 7 generations.
The Bicentenary Cuvée has been specially blended for the anniversary and will be available in limited edition, only 1818 individually numbered magnums will be available across the world.
An Instinct for Exception Over Six Generations.
The Impassioned Founders
Nicolas François Billecart (1794-1858)
and Elisabeth Salmon (1797-1860)
The Intrepid Adventurer
The Dandy and Aesthete
The Courageous Pilot
The Meticulous Perfectionist
The Visionary Poet and the Charming Ambassador
François Roland-Billecart - (b. 1947)
and Antoine Roland-Billecart - (b. 1961)