View From the Cellar 95
“The Domaine des Billards 2017 Saint Amour is a touch riper than customary, coming in listed at 13.5 percent, but in this vintage, that seems just perfect. As readers know, this is one of my absolute favorite Cru bottlings in the entire region and, in my opinion, is one of the great long-distance runners of Beaujolais. The 2017 Billards is a classic in the making, offering up a beautifully pure and still quite primary bouquet of red and black cherries, game bird, woodsmoke, a hint of raw cocoa, a complex base of soil tones and a discreet floral top-note redolent of a peonies. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and full-bodied with a fine core of eventually sappy fruit, an excellent structural chassis, moderate, seamless tannins and great focus and grip on the very, very long and nascently complex finish. This is the finest vintage of Billards since the 2011 and 2005, with perhaps greater purity and a more classical profile than those two previous vintages. It is a must buy for the cellar! 2023-2060.” ~ JG
"Le Clos des Billards is a one hectare monopole within the “les Billards” vineyard in Saint-Amour. This special reserve wine was created using only the best fruit from the lowest-yielding vines which range from 50-100 years old.
It is vinified over 20 days using a weighted grill to keep the must cap submerged in the fermenting juice, thereby increasing the extraction of tannins and complexity; it is then aged in large foudres for 9 months before bottling, with additional aging in bottle prior to release. The result is an exceptional and age-worthy expression of the terroir of Saint-Amour, structured and elegant." ~ Importer Notes
Barbet Domaine Des BillardsView all from Barbet Domaine Des Billards
Situated at the mid-point of the sloping vineyards of Saint Amour, the Domaine des Billards belongs to the Barbet and Teissier families. This domaine has a long and storied history: an ancient parchment order book still in the family's possession shows a number of prestigious customers in Paris in the 18th Century, among them a sale , in 1774, of 10 barrels to Marquis Turgot, Louis XVI's Finance Minister. Today, they produce around 6,000 cases annually from their 5.26 hectares.
The soil is composed of sandstone pebbles underlying granite outcroppings at a depth of 50cm to 1 meter and beneath that, layers of clay. Farming is very traditional and natural, with no use of herbicides. The soil is regularly ploughed to develop the biodiversity: the Domaine des Billards is today a paradise for worms and beetles!
The traditional winemaking process lasts between 12 to 15 days and the use of a weighted grill to keep the "crust" submerged in the fermenting juices leads to a more effective extraction of tannins.