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 Vintage1996 Label 1 of 5 
TypeWhite - Sparkling
ProducerBillecart-Salmon (web)
VarietyPinot Noir
VineyardLes Clos Saint-Hilaire

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2009 and 2028 (based on 4 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Billecart Salmon Clos St. Hilaire on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 94.5 pts. and median of 95 pts. in 32 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by Pacalet on 3/25/2015 & rated 94 points: Very fresh toasty nose with peach and citrus fruit. Palate is lush and quite big which reminds you it is a pinot noir champ, yet the acidity reminds you that it is from 96 which balances out the big body. Still an infant, a glorious child, will be wonderful with much more cellar age. Greatness in the making. (409 views)
 Tasted by Rezy13 on 10/18/2013 & rated 94 points: Sloppy Seconds Mondo Tasting (Bin 75): Golden yellow, larger bubbles, lingering mousse; nutty, red apple, green fruit, tart,; rich and luxurious, good acid, some aged notes, almond, long finish, chalk and yeast on the finish; phenomenal but it never evolved with extended airtime; a brick house of a champagne. (4172 views)
 Tasted by Tavastgatan on 3/30/2013 & rated 93 points: Bone dry and quite developed. Not really my style, too lille fruit for me. Was expecting more. Still a fine Champagne. (3761 views)
 Tasted by St Paul on 3/29/2013 & rated 93 points: Long time since I had these bubbles and from being sharp and closed it now was almost fully developed. Hard to say if it is a phase. There are many 96´s going this direction right now. There are some being extremely sharp and complex but a lot are falling apart. Is it just a phase? Time will tell. (3630 views)
 Tasted by Argrath on 11/24/2012 & rated 91 points: Very delicate, tender and subtly complex nose. Just about ripe apples, lightly yeasty, notes of flowers, apricots and some aniseed.
Harmonius taste. Round, quite full body. Very pure and elegant. Good grip. Ripe apple and yeast, but not a blockbuster. Still shy.
Tasted in a 1996 prestige tasting, this came out as too shy and subtle to make any lasting impressions. I lacked the secondary aromas - maybe you'll have to wait 25-30 years for them? (2187 views)
 Tasted by Ramberg on 7/26/2012 & rated 95 points: Lovely, beautiful mature Champagne.
This bottle was like a flawless diamond, complex, with layers of fruit and taste and nose…
Great Champagne that will keep much longer still. (4955 views)
 Tasted by christopher wish on 10/18/2011: not sure how to judge this bottle. totally hyper active bubbles with massive fresh ripe berry fruits in your face.
there is nothing shy about this wine. after 6 hours it had not settled down. if you like this style it is amazing.
for me, i prefer a more well rounded and balanced champagne. as for the price it is kind of silly (3879 views)
 Tasted by Jossik on 9/2/2011 & rated 87 points: diversissimo dagli altri bevuti, molto immediato di mela e terrosità, bocca altamente bevibile, non ha note vinose, complesse o strutturate (3579 views)
 Tasted by Le Musigny on 8/9/2011: Very fresh with good exotic fruit and in a fairly primary place. (2872 views)
 Tasted by Le Musigny on 3/29/2011: Outstanding bottle with good fruit (red) and , minerality, with good structure and acidity. (3190 views)
 Tasted by sdr on 12/5/2010 & rated 92 points: While not quite as spectacular as before, this is still outstanding. The aroma of dark fruit, raisin and fig is immediately forthcoming. Not quite as full in the palate, though. Could it be losing fruit as Brad Baker suggests? This wine needs close monitoring but for now, it's still wonderful. (3054 views)
 Tasted by Le Musigny on 11/29/2010: Drinking really well at the moment but still very primary. This needs to settle down and develop secondary flavors although its fun to drink now. Citrus and floral flavors with a lot of acidity. (3095 views)
 Tasted by typh on 7/31/2010 & rated 96 points: As fresh as the day it was bottled. Lots of body and acidity. Alot of power and structure. If the Salon is the girl you take to the royal ballet, the St Hilaire is the one you take to the after party. You wont be disappointed. (3272 views)
 Tasted by sdr on 4/17/2010: Radically different than the bottle 18 months ago. Vigourous, frothy, pale; it certainly looks healthy. But extremely thin and austere on the plate. Where is the fruit? (3502 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 4/14/2010 flawed bottle: Nothing like last week's bottle. Brought to Acker auction at Cru - just sour and bitter, devoid of any fruit. Unfortunately just like the bottle I brought with me to LA in November. Sounds like 'sdr' had the same issue. (3679 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 4/5/2010 & rated 97 points: Nothing new to say - great as always. (3735 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 1/7/2010 & rated 98 points: This was just on fire, over the top tonight. Sushi night - great nose of brioche, oyster, mushroom, flint, strawberry and touch of oxidation. Palate had fresh strawberries, bit of caramel, sour cherry finish. The acidity was long, but not harsh - amazing. It is such a great drinker now that I am afraid to age them. How much better can it get. (4024 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 12/8/2009 & rated 90 points: Brought to the Beckwith's residence for Grand Cru's Champagne Holiday Party. Good, but not showing as it should. (3845 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 11/7/2009 flawed bottle: Dinner with Bipin, Francois, Gary and Tom at Chinois in Santa Monica - everyone brought a great bottle, except me - mine was oxidized. Gary's 86 Krug Mesnil was great but I felt Tom's '82 DP bested them all. (3796 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 10/24/2009 & rated 97 points: Brought to dinner at Element in Princeton - great again, just like the last bottle, creamy, brioche, oysters, white fruits, great mouthfeel and acidity. (4045 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 9/10/2009 & rated 97 points: Drank at Restaurant Laurent in Paris - Just like the last bottle, creamy, brioche, oysters, white fruits, great mouthfeel and acidity. It was also a great deal on the list, less than 2x US auction and cheaper than the Krug Grand Cuvee on their list. Perfect match with an all seafood meal. (4059 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 9/6/2009 & rated 97 points: Another great bottle of this Champagne. Brioche and caramel on nose with a touch of ocean breeze. Palate has the perfect amount of acidity, not overdone like a lot of '96's. The front palate has lemon and white peach, some oyster in the mid-palate, and finishes with a mild caramel. The texture of this wine is very creamy, but not cloying. Such a great drinking experience. Drank with clams and scallops and matched perfectly. (4056 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 7/21/2009 & rated 97 points: Nose was a bit muted, but the palate was great. Red apple, rhubarb, smoke, perfect acidity, big mouthfeel. Some sour cherries on the finish. (4175 views)
 Tasted by Cheryl on 6/12/2009: Phenomenal nose, bad palate. No. (4072 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 5/2/2009 & rated 95 points: The Big "Four-O": 40+ Wines for 40 Years: Similar, but not as good as the last time. Drank after the Krug Clos du Mesnil, so that may have had something to do with it. Yeast and caramel on the nose with white peaches, lemon and minerals on the palate. Good acidity, but very smooth. (6018 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Antonio Galloni
Vinous, 1996 Champagne – For The Ages (Oct 2014) (10/1/2014)
(Billecart-salmon Le Clos Saint-hilaire) Subscribe to see review text.
By Antonio Galloni
Vinous, Checking in on the 1996 Champagnes (Sep 2010)
(Billecart-salmon Le Clos Saint-hilaire) Subscribe to see review text.
By Brad Baker
Champagne Warrior, February 2010, Issue #5, Tasting Notes/Wine Reviews
(Billecart-Salmon Clos Saint-Hillaire) Login and sign up and see review text.
By Brad Baker
Champagne Warrior, January 2009, Issue #1, The Top 50 Champagnes of 1996
(Billecart-Salmon Clos Saint Hilaire) Login and sign up and see review text.
By Antonio Galloni
Vinous, The 1996 Champagnes Revisited (Jan 2009)
(Billecart-salmon Clos Saint-hilaire) Subscribe to see review text.
By Antonio Galloni
Vinous, New Releases from Champagne (Dec 2008)
(Billecart-salmon Clos Saint-hilaire) Subscribe to see review text.
By Peter Liem
(Billecart-Salmon Clos Saint-Hilaire Brut) Subscribe to see review text.
By John Kapon
Vintage Tastings, Happy Birthday Don (1/23/2009)
(Billecart Salmon Clos St. Hilaire) classic as always, racy like Nascar with its seemingly endless acidity. I am looking forward to drinking 1996 Champagnes for the rest of my life.  96+ points
By John Kapon
Vintage Tastings, New Year's Eve 2007 (1/2/2008)
(Billecart Salmon Clos St. Hilaire) We segued to a pair of Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir), the pair of Blanc de Noirs, to be exact. The 1996 Billecart Salmon Clos St. Hilaire had a breadier, yeastier nose, much gamier and earthier than the previous two blends. Someone hastily said, ‘it’s walking the Krug,’ meaning it was showing better, but I found it closer qualitatively despite the obvious stylistic differences. Its finish was also explosive and full of earth, breed and length. King Angry Ray noted, ‘the fruit is so pure, you don’t even notice the lack of dosage.’ The Clos St. Hilaire had the complexity of a quarry full of all types of rocks, minerals and vitamins, possessing incredible acidity, structure and length. Flavors of anise developed, and the finish gained this novocaine-like complexity in this numbingly good Champagne. I asked Ray if he thought this was better than Krug, and he succinctly observed, ‘Just different. More red fruit here.’ The Hilaire more so than the first two bubblies needs time to age; they all will benefit by age, but the Hilaire seemed to be the most brooding, complex and least approachable overall  97 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and Champagne Warrior and ChampagneGuide.net and Vintage Tastings. (manage subscription channels)

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Pinot Noir

Varietal character (Appellation America) | Varietal article (Wikipedia)
Pinot Noir is the Noble red grape of Burgundy, capable of ripening in a cooler climate, which Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will not reliably do. It is unpredictable and difficult both to grow and to vinify, but results in some of the finest reds in the world. It is believed to have been selected from wild vines two thousand years ago. It is also used in the production of champagne. In fact, more Pinot Noir goes into Champagne than is used in all of the Cote d'Or! It is also grown in Alsace, Germany, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Austria, and so forth, with varying degrees of success.


Vins de France (Office National Interprofessionnel des Vins ) | Pages Vins, Directory of French Winegrowers | French Wine (Wikipedia)


Le Champagne (Le comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne) | Grandes Marques & Maisons de Champagne (Union des Maisons de Champagne)

France - When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of consistent quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.

Champagne - The French region of Champagne (including the cities of Rheims, Épernay, and Aÿ) was the first region in the world to make sparkling wine in any quantity. Today, the name of the region is synonymous with the finest of all sparkling wines, and wine-making traditions of Champagne have become role models for sparkling wine producers, worldwide. Surprisingly, the region of Champagne is now responsible for only one bottle in 12 of all sparkling wine produced. Styles of champagne range in sweetness ranging from an extra brut or brut 0, to the basic brut to demi sec to doux; some houses produce single vintage champagnes and others produce non-vintage (or incorporate wines/grapes of multiple vintages), often to preserve a specific taste; combinations of grape varietals; and colors, including a rosé. There are several sub-appellations, including the Valley of the Marnes river running from Épernay west, Massif de Saint-Thierry north and west of Rheims, Valley of the Ardre, the Mountains of Rheims (between Rheims and Épernay), Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne, and Côte des Bar in the South. Champagne wine only uses three grape varietals (cépages): Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.


The vineyards of Champagne on weinlagen-info

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