Billecart-Salmon Clos Saint Hilaire
I once heard a famous critic admit that emotional impact was the only difference between 100 points and 98 points. Not so here. I tasted Clos Saint Hilaire for the first time at the end of my fourth tasting of a hectic day in Champagne. I’d been tasting since 8:30am and it was now 7pm, I had a headache and my teeth were aching from tasting young champagnes all day. This wine is objectively and indisputably one of the greatest champagnes I have ever tasted for it uncontestable superiority in three ways: persistence, complexity and structure. The single hectare of Clos Saint Hilaire has no right to its profound echelon: it is but a premier cru on a flat expanse in the village, on soil less chalky than many. The genius here is as much in the making, and I could not name another wine at this level, anywhere on the planet, of which the same can be said. For a tasting note, you’ll just have to wait for The Champagne Guide 2012, or fork out $800 at WineStar to see for yourself.
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