Champagne, ‘Cuvee Julie’, Henri Billiot
Montagne de Reims
Tasting NotesNow all ’05, and very much back in form after the rather oaky ’04. Disgorged 1/10, and more homogenous than the more complex Laetitia; a generous feet-on-the-ground mouth-filling Champagne, no sign of the ’05 “issue” but loads of generous easy strength. Saturated, satisfying, easy to “get.”
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Press & Reviews
The NV Brut Grand Cru Cuvee Julie is equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fermented in oak. The Julie is wonderfully nuanced and balanced in a floral, approachable style that is quite appealing. This, too, needs a few more years in bottle, although it is and always will be less exciting than the Laetitia. This is L06, disgorged: May, 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018. The Billiot family farms a total of 5 hectares in Ambonnay, where Pinot Noir reigns supreme. These unfiltered, low-dosage, no-malo Champagnes are exceptionally pure and loaded with personality.
This aromatic bubbly offers an exotic mix of flavors, with honeysuckle, marjoram, myrrh, coconut and ginger notes accenting patisserie apple, kiwifruit, honey and toast flavors. It's all packaged with vibrant, balanced acidity and finely detailed texture. Drink now through 2020. –AN
(75% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay from Ambonnay): Light, bright pink. Spicy, floral aromas of red berries, white peach, honey and toasted bread. Juicy, penetrating red berry and citrus fruit flavors show impressive clarity and pick up a mineral quality with air. Notes of candied rose and orange zest carry through a long, sappy, perfumed finish.
(100% from 2005 that saw approximately 8 months in cask). This is a very interesting cuvée because it will very quickly answer any questions you may have about whether you enjoy noticeable wood in your Champagne. Sometimes, it can add breadth and depth and sometimes it can take away part of what makes Champagne Champagne, which is the racy and firm acid spine. In this particular case, the time in wood has very definitely added depth, not only from the slightly oxidative character but it has contributed mightily to the complexity. However, long-time readers know that I believe that there is no free lunch and in that sense, what has been gained in terms of depth has been lost in terms of freshness and precision. Some will like the trade-off and some will prefer tighter and more classically styled examples. I actually quite like this because it’s delicious and it’s relatively rare to obtain this much complexity and flat out superb length in a toasty package. That said, I have to underscore that this is not my preferred style even though I can admire it for what it is. In sum, if you enjoy wood-influenced Champagne, this is terrific. By contrast, if you don’t, it would be best to look elsewhere. 94/now+
This is entirely from the 2005 harvest, and made of roughly equal parts pinot noir and chardonnay, although as always, the Billiots don’t reveal the exact composition. It was fermented in tank but aged for nearly eight months in barrique, and while the wood is a bit overly prominent on the nose, the fruit feels energetic and bright. On the palate it’s dominated in flavor by exotic citrus notes of chardonnay while the pinot noir seems to give it breadth and body, and overall it’s well-balanced, its ripe depth feeling sleek in shape and subtly nuanced on the persistent finish. Last tasted: 3/10
Apricot, peach, nutmeg, anise and spice notes flesh out in the NV Brut Cuvée Julie Grand Cru. Vinification in oak shapes the wine noticeably, especially in its sense of volume and pure texture. Still, all the elements are in the right place. There is plenty of vintage 2006 power and personality, but it is impossible to wonder what the Cuvée Julie might be like with a bit of a lighter hand in the cellar with respect to cooperage. Layers of fruit continue to blossom as this expressive Champagne opens up further with air. Cuvée Julie is equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all vintage 2006, aged in a combination of neutral and new oak. This bottle was disgorged in May 2013.