St Hilaire is the patron saint of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, the pretty Champagne village which is famous for scoring 99 on the Echelle des Crus. (This classification of Champagne vineyards was developed in the mid-20th century as a means of setting the price of grapes grown through the villages of the Champagne wine region.)
That the village missed out on grand cru status by one point is generally agreed to be an injustice – all the more so as it is home not only to the superlative Clos des Goisses vineyard, but also one of the most respected houses in the region, Billecart-Salmon.
Scroll down for tasting notes and scores of all seven Le Clos Saint-Hilaire releases
Great excitement, then, when seventh-generation owner Mathieu Roland-Billecart announced that he was to present England’s first ever complete vertical of his top wine, Le Clos Saint-Hilaire.
The tasting included a preview of the latest release, the 2006, and then all six other releases, going back to 1995.