The Grand Cru by Billecart Salmon

The Grand Cru by Billecart-Salmon is a limited time premium champagne experience, showcasing a line-up of exceptional cuvées from Maison Billecart-Salmon, hosted at Custom Lane – Auckland’s newest day-to-night hotspot.

Dhall&Nash, alongside with Custom Lane @ Grand Mercure Auckland, is organizing a Billecart-Salmon Champagne Pop Up Bar.

Join us every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from the 15th to the 29th of December to experience one of the finest Champagne in the world. A knowledgeable and passionate sommelier will be on site to help you choose from the exceptional Billecart-Salmon range and from some of our Cellar that will also be available there.

On this occasion, Custom Lane will be redesigned according to the look and feel of Maison Billecart so that you can fully experience the magic that Billecart captures in every glass.

For more information on the Grand Cru, check out our dedicated website here.

Billecart-Salmon Maison

The story of Billecart-Salmon all began in 1818 when Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon founded a Champagne House that was above all conscious of the excellence of its wines.

Their Maison is one of the most sterling examples of Louis XI architecture. It is one of the few left standing today following the Napoleonic revolution where so much of the great architecture of Louis XVI was destroyed.

The Maison today is still family owned jointly by two brothers – the seventh generation of the family. The secret of the Maison has been the ‘savoir-faire’ passed down from generation to generation. Indeed, since 1818, every member of the Billecart family has been committed to perpetuating the family tradition through standing by the immutable oath :

“Give priority to quality, strive for excellence.”

All of the twenty-seven 3 Michelin starred restaurants in France serve Billecart-Salmon Champagne. Don’t miss your chance to experience it at The Grand Cru!

For more on this amazing Maison: Click Here


Here is the list of the Champagne that will available by glass and bottle at The Grand Cru :

2002 Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas-Francois Brut

“This vintage has begun to open magnificently since its release, displaying remarkable complexity, yet at every moment clinging to impeccable elegance, a coiled focus of malic acid tension and exhilarating chalk mineral texture. Delightful poise and intricate craftsmanship proclaim one of the great Billecart’s of the modern era.” – Tyson Stelzer (99 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

 

2004 Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs

“BdB 2004 makes a monumental declaration; from Billecart’s proud position in the heart of pinot territory, this house is masterful in its command of the finest Chardonnay Crus… At a decade or so of age, its exacting, youthful freshness of lemon and white peach is breathtakingly elegant, yet innately intense. Subtle oak structure gently coaxes out notes of almond, nougat and subtle toasty complexity, building creamy texture and accenting dazzling chalk minerality. Grand longevity.” – Tyson Stelzer (98 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

2006 Billecart- Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth

“I tasted this with Antoine Billecart in October 2015, and it lives up to its lofty reputation as the best rosé in the world. It is composed of even parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but it is the red wine that is added (about 9%) that puts this wine in a class of its own. The red Pinot Noir is all from the 1er Cru of Mareuil, in fact from one 80-year-old plot called the Valofroy. This ultimately elegant Champagne has kaleidoscopic complexity with everything inside from white flowers to subtle hazelnuts. The Volnay-like character of the red wine is in the background now, but for the patient, this wine will be a treat on the level of any wine in the world.” – Gary Westby

NV Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs

“A beautifully pristine Blanc de Blancs. Elegantly understated lemon and grapefruit evolve to anise, highlighted by struck flint. The tense structure and energetic tang of the season heighten the wonderful mineral expression.” – Tyson Stelzer (98 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve

“Billecart is royalty among the readily available entry NVs. Brut Reserve is a captivating contradiction, dressing one of Champagne’s higher representations of Pinot Meunier in one of the most delicate and graceful of attires. It glides onto the stage and sings with the pristine signature of the house, energising the red apple, berry and strawberry fruits of Pinot Meunier with a breathtakingly refined melody of pure lemon blossom and lemon meringue in a dazzling display of fine, chalk minerality and understated, fragrant elegance. The effortless, understated purity of Billecart can even leave the unsuspecting wondering what the fuss is all about, but wait for the second sip and the orchestra will strike up and lift your mood in an instant. .” – Tyson Stelzer (95 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose

“This is clearly one of my favourite rosé Champagnes out there. I love the freshness and clarity of the wine, from its light pink colour to crisp acidity and minerally, chalky character on the finish. It’s full-bodied and dense yet agile with amazing length and beauty. Refreshing and vibrant. As it warms, it gives you delicate Pinot Noir character like Aloxe-Corton or another excellent appelation. Drink now.” – James Suckling (95 Points)

NV Billecart-Salmon Demi-Sec

“One of the most refreshing and well-crafted sweet champagnes on the shelves… with acidity and poise to handle its honeyed sweetness. This transforms the clean fruit precision that defines Billecart into candied citrus, lemon drops and glace figs, with a creamy, sweet finish, well-toned by balanced acidity.” – Tyson Stelzer (92 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

NV Billecart-Salmon Premier Cru Sous-Bois

“Sous Bois is as distinctive for Billecart as its bold, modern label. Billecart is constantly experimenting, and occasionally something emerges from its trials for all to behold. Sous Bois is literally ‘underwood,’ inspired by oak-fermented parcels destined for Billecart’s top cuvées. Sous Bois exalts the crunchy strawberry hull and fresh white cherries of its pinot core, intricately interwoven with the spice, toast and creamy texture of oak, without ever becoming oaky. It sings with classic Billecart precision while basking in the richness of barrel fermentation, silky and alluring, confronting and commanding, all at once.” – Tyson Stelzer (95 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

Introducing Norman Hardie: A Cult Phenomenon from Niagara

Right from the start, Norman Hardie’s goal has always been to produce wine of the highest quality, that taste of a place, and every year to raise the bar on quality. He’s quickly developed a strong clientele of local and international clients who appreciate his Old World handcrafted style. Almost immediately upon opening, the winery received phenomenal accolades from top wine critics.

“The most important thing about Norman Hardie’s wines from Ontario are that they are absolutely, utterly, profoundly delicious…I cannot enthuse about these wines enough.” – Jancis Robinson 27.05.2016.

Indeed, whatever wine you pick up from Norman Hardie you will be rewarded with perfectly food-pleasing acidity and low-intervention winemaking that is both delicious and feels decidedly good for you.

Norman Hardie is making what many consider to be Canada’s finest wines. They are the stars of wine publications like Decanter and Fine Wine and on top wine lists in New York, London, Tokyo and Toronto.

Any force needs to be well-provisioned, especially one led by a frontiersman like Norman Hardie, whose lifelong obsession with Old World wines has found an unlikely home in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Norman Hardie earned his sommelier certification at the University of Dijon in the late 1980s. After putting this certification to use for Four Seasons Hotel in 1989, he spent 6 years (12 harvests) apprenticing with some of the best producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in both hemispheres. It was inevitable that Hardie was going to set up his own operation. In 2003 he made the leap, took a partner, put down roots in Prince Edward County and began, with a winery built in time for the 2004 vintage.

It was the soil that led him, after all these travels, to the County. Despite being only 200 kilometers east of Toronto, Prince Edward County shares a very similar soil makeup and latitude with Burgundy—a place that has left an inedible mark on Hardie’s psyche: “I spent a year in Burgundy when I was 22, you know, once you taste a great Burgundy, you’re done… you’re done. That was it, life just became expensive from that moment on.” The rare mix of limestone and clay is indeed the holy grail for those who want to make world-class Pinot Noir. “When I drove in here in 2001, I got off the highway, and had a look at the soils and was like, ‘OK, there’s a catch.’ These soils are beautiful, this is what I’ve seen in Burgundy, so why are there no grapes? And the reason being every year we get minus 25 or colder. And minus 25 is the death knell.” Like all Canadian winemakers, Hardie is on the front lines of Canada’s harsh and changing climate. For the most part, that means protecting vines from the cold by burying them underground in the winter. In the spring, it means doing everything possible—from lighting hay on fire to windmill towers and renting helicopters—to minimize the effects of a spring frost that can ravage a year’s work in mere hours.

During the growing season and harvest, Norman Hardie works tirelessly to ensure that not even the minute details are missed. On the weekends outside of this, his gregarious personality moves throughout the winery fluidly directing his staff and making all who enter the winery feel welcome. There’s something magnetic about Norman Hardie: It’s a combination of a magnetic personality, a generosity of spirit, a relentless drive towards a goal and a pizza oven.


The Wines

2015 Norman Hardie Niagara Cabernet Franc

An elegantly perfumed nose of classic cool-climate Cabernet Franc characteristics: deep red fruit, jalapeno, stony gravel and a touch of meatiness. On the palate an exceptional balance of firm tannin and bright acid, rich berry notes and a long, lingering finish. This is a versatile food-pairing wine.

2015 Norman Hardie Niagara Chardonnay

“This Chardonnay is a reductive yellow goddess dressed chardonnay, connected to the fullest of its fruit, (slowly developed) creamy malolactic, touchstone acidity and grape tannic ability. There is understated feeling in the throes of richness that the winemaker and the place always seem to agree upon. The display window celebrates and proudly promotes the somewhereness of this wine” Michael Godel, WineAlign

2016 Norman Hardie Niagara Pinot Noir

“So supple and delicious, with primary red cherry fruit and some spicy structure. Has amazing precision and lovely fruit purity, with a bit of grip under the fruit. There’s a lightness and elegance to the wine that’s delightful, and it should develop well.” – Jamie Goode, WineAnorak 

2016 Norman Hardie Niagara Riesling

This Riesling is zesty, vibrant and fresh with tangy lime citrus and mineral making up its heart and soul. It’s absolutely delicious. This is hot-summer-day-on-a-patio wine if there ever was one.

7 Reasons Why We Love Piccolos

Fun size and perfect for all occasions! Image Courtesy of La Marca Prosecco

When its come to sparkling wine the piccolo is definitely one of the great innovations. It’s changing how we approach these delicious treats, taking them out of the realm of celebrations into the realm of everyday luxury. So here are 7 reasons to love piccolos, just in time for Summer…


1. Zero Wastage

With sparkling wine, there is nothing more frustrating than a bottle that’s lost its fizz. This is easy to eliminate with this perfect single serve option. Gone are the days of sadly pouring that half bottle from last nights party down the sink as its gone flat…

2. Fridge Space and Cooling

In the modern apartment and home, fridges are getting smaller and thus putting a premium on space. This small format bottle slots into the little gaps in your fridge. Plus in an added bonus rapid chilling! Due to the smaller volume of the bottle, it chills far more rapidly than its full-size brothers. Just think, ice cold Prosecco in under 30 minutes.

3. Great for Cocktails

With the resurgence in cocktails, the Italian Aperitivo is definitely an easy home option. However, very rarely do these delicious treats call for more than a splash of the good stuff. One piccolo is the perfect for a pair of spritz’… For more cocktail ideas check out our guide to Prosecco drinks here.

4. Variety is the Spice of Life

La Marca Prosecco Piccolos – Image Courtesy of La Marca Prosecco

The piccolo can be looked at as the ultimate way to experience a diverse range of wines. With its small format it’s the perfect way to enjoy a super fresh bottle every time plus it means you’re not committed to 750ml of liquid. So change it up and experiment with something new in this small format!

5. Cute, Cute, Cute!

There’s nothing cuter than little things! So what’s cuter than a little bottle of vino? Not a lot – so wow your party guests with an ice cold piccolo. We suggest La Marca

6. Picnic Perfect

Slide a couple of these discrete treats into your next picnic spread… Their small scale makes them an easy option – plus you don’t need to remember glasses just grab some straws and enjoy some Prosecco in the summer sun!

7. Convenience Plus

Piccolos are perfect for the busy modern life! Pocket-sized, quick to chill, no wastage, easy open and who needs a glass? Slide one in your bag and head out there and Make Everyday Sparkle

 

Check out our pick of the Piccolos – La Marca Prosecco Here…

Great American Chardonnay…

After our recent focus on Burgundy, we’ve decided to share a selection of our favourite Chardonnays from the West Coast of the USA. From the  rich and balanced wines of Washington State, the incredibly delicious wines from Sonoma Coast with some of the most spectacular cliff top vineyards in the World; the exceptional from Carneros a unique micro-climate found at the foot of Sonoma and Napa; and of course the lush, layered and complex wines of Napa Valley itself. Please see below for some choice picks from our cellars.

(For more on California Click here.)

The House at Flowers Winery in Sonoma Coast


Drink Now

2014 Bogle Reserve Chardonnay – California, USA

Wine Spectator, Decanter and Wine Enthusiast to name a few World-Class wine publications have repeatedly rated Bogle as the greatest value wine available from the USA

 

2014 Columbia Crest Grand Estate Chardonnay – Washington, USA

Ripe orchard fruit flavours are joined by creamy, buttery notes and balanced by lively acidity, creating a rich yet fresh wine.
“What’s remarkable is the careful and personal detail each of the 6000 barrels get for this wine.” – Natalie McLean (90 points)

2016 Coppola Diamond Chardonnay – California, USA

This Chardonnay reflects the distinctive personality of Monterey vineyards, which give rise to juicy apple, guava and melon flavours.  Whole-cluster pressing and a combination of barrel and stainless steel fermentation ensure that the creamy texture and caramelized sugar finish is balanced by a crisp acidity.

2014 H3 Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay – Washington, USA

Hints of toasty coconut join flavors of white orchard fruits, pineapple, grapefruit and sweet oak, ending with a lengthy finish of creamy vanilla.
The vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills are the source and inspiration behind the H3 wines

 

For the Cellar

2015 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay – California, USA

“The 2015 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast offers aromas of honey-drizzled peaches, poached pears, muskmelon and butterscotch. Medium to full-bodied with a pleasant oiliness to the texture and plenty of butter-laced stone fruit flavours on offer, it has great harmony and persistence” – Wine Advocate

2015 Flowers Sonoma Chardonnay – California, USA

Elegant, balanced palate driven by citrus and stone fruit that carry over onto a long finish marked with the distinctive acidity of the Sonoma Coast.

2014 Hyde de Villaine De la Guerra Chardonnay – California, USA

The palate echoes the nose with brilliant freshness and focus. The pleasant texture is enhanced by gentle richness, carrying the wine to a long and bright finish.

2013 Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay – California, USA

The palate is precise and focused, driven by mouthwatering acidity and framed by flinty, coastal minerality – a vivid expression of Flowers Estate vineyard.

2013 Hyde de Villaine Chardonnay – California, USA

“A fresh and clean wine with a lovely linear structure that gives the wine energy and power. Medium body, lovely cream and flan and hints of stone. Love the subtlety and length.” – James Suckling

12 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Methode Traditionnelle – California, USA

The fragrance of fruit is complemented with hints of yeast, white flowers, spicy ginger and fresh honeycomb. The lime, tangerine and pear flavours are tart and refreshing on entry. The palate is crisp with long lingering acidity.

 

(To see all our American Producers Click Here)

Make Everyday Sparkle – With Our Guide to Prosecco Cocktails

Cocktails have had a huge resurgence of late. Thanks to shows like Madmen, Sex in the City and many others, some of these classic cocktails have been pulled back to the forefront. Alongside these classic drinks, people are looking at a more classic way of drinking them – Apertivo isn’t just a flash way of saying happy hour, it’s a way of life. It directly translates to an aperitif, a little something to whet the appetite before a meal. However, this has grown to be so much more.

With the massive international growth in Prosecco internationally, the drinks associated with this pre-dinner phenomenon are everywhere from the Bellini, Mimosa and Spritz to obscure beasts like the Airmail and French 75.

So in conjunction with La Marca Prosecco here are our favourite tipples from the happiest hour of the day.


1. La Marca Spritz

What is more quintessentially Italian than Aperitivo? No drink sums this up more than the La Marca Spritz. Combining La Marca Prosecco with Aperol, freshly sliced orange and a touch of soda – a winning combination. This truly classic cocktail dates back to 1950’s but has been given a new modern twist thanks to this ultra-premium Prosecco.

Click here for the recipe.

 

2. La Marca Bellini

Invented at Harry’s New York Bar in Venice this two ingredient wunderkinder has set the tone for a lot of the sparkling wine drinks we take for granted. There would be no mimosa if it wasn’t for this beast. Think puréed white peach topped with crisp Prosecco… Simply peach to taste and top with Prosecco. (Substitute peach for orange juice to make a Mimosa).

 

Image Courtesy of Lara Feroni Imbibe Magazine

3. Negroni Sbagliato

This modern classic is a riff on the infamous Negroni. Switching out gin for Prosecco softens this bittersweet classic. There’s nothing more perfect than this to sip while enjoying the Dolce Vita. Equal parts Campari, Vermouth di Torino (Red/Rosso Vermouth) topped with the same amount of Prosecco and garnished with a slice of orange. Quick, easy and the perfect way to add a little class to your evening drinks.

 

Here’s one of our own: The Venetian Love Letter

A homage to a drink almost as classically stylish as La Marca itself – the Airmail. Riffing on this Caribbean twist on the French 75, this brings Italy to the forefront. Blending Lime, Amaro Montenegro, Rum, honey and most importantly La Marca Prosecco into a frothy blend sure to enrapture the senses and send you straight to a taverna on the edge of the canals.

Click here for the recipe.

So get creating with this small slice of Apertivo and remember Picollos are perfect for cocktails!

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