95 Points Robert Parker
Disgorged in April 2016, after 13 years on the lees in bottle, Billecart-Salmon's recent release of the 2002 Millésime Brut Cuvée Nicolas François is an amazing wine for lovers of matured, pure and spicy Champagnes. This is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir (from premier and grand crus of the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne) and 40% Chardonnay (from the Côte des Blancs), with 20% vinified in oak barrels. It opens with a deep, rich, intense, pure and chalky bouquet with ripe, yellow-fleshed stone fruits, citrus fruits and beautiful bottle maturity. This is quite mature compared to the 2002 Clos Saint-Hilaire, and this might be due to the cork, which came out of the bottle neck far too easy. This 2002 is rich but more vinous now than the bright and highly delicate 2006. The palate is pretty intense, dense and viscous, while the finish is refined and pure, with vibrant freshness and gastronomic grip. It is slightly drying, though. This is a very complex, round and intense 2002 with very fine bubbles. It should be served with poultry or turbot in a creamy sauce, as recommended by Billecart's chef de cave, Florent Nys. Tasted from lot L112A675 44251 in November 2018. There might be even better, fresher bottles than this.
Source: Robert Parker (Robert Parker Wine Advocate) by Stephan Reinhardt. December, 2018
99 Points Tyson Stelzer
Some champagnes volunteer their life story within seconds of first introduction, like
overworked movie trailers that leave you fully convinced you’ve seen the film. Others churn
in your consciousness for days, slowly unravelling their story long after the credits have rolled.
NFB 2002 has played out a captivating script since my first dramatic encounter in mid-
2013. Four years on, it’s opening magnificently to display remarkable complexity, yet at every
moment clinging to impeccable elegance, coiled focus of malic acid tension and exhilarating
chalk mineral texture. Even at 15 years of age, it has barely moved, upholding brilliant primary
definition of icy lemon citrus and fennel, with only subtle, graceful evolution of nougat, butter,
honey, roast almonds and toast, promising decades of potential yet. As always, the greatness
of Billecart is proclaimed not by impact or power, but by slowly rising complexity, astonishing
chalk mineral presence of mouth-enveloping texture and a revelation of stunning persistence.
Minerality cascades in ultra-fine detail, to the point of silkiness, yet simultaneously poised and
confident. Delightful grace and intricate craftsmanship proclaim one of the great Billecarts of
the modern era, a champagne with many characters and subplots to reveal, to be enjoyed slowly
in the presence of the most intimate company – and ideally not for at least another decade.
Source: Tyson Stelzer.