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Billecart-Salmon invests in Loire Valley estate

Champagne Billecart-Salmon has expanded into the Loire Valley by investing in a 20ha estate owned by experimental winemaker Jérôme Bretaudeau.

Bretaudeau is renowned as a driving force behind Muscadet’s revival thanks to his pioneering work with the once maligned grape, Melon de Bourgogne.

He settled in Gétigné, a commune in the westernmost appellation of the Loire Valley , after purchasing a small 4ha plot back in 2001.

Co-ops focused on cheap, industrial production of Muscadet dominated the region, but Bretaudeau took a different tack with his estate, named Domaine de Bellevue.

He has focused on organic and biodynamic production, and he forged a modern path for Muscadet via creative winemaking and bold experimentation.

The estate has gradually expanded over the years, and it now cultivates 20ha of red and white grapes. Domaine de Bellevue does not buy any grapes from third-party growers.

Alongside Melon de Bourgogne, Bretaudeau also grows Savagnin, Chardonnay , Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir .

This has resulted in some eccentric cuvées, many of which defy classification, lining up alongside the estate’s signature old vine Muscadets.

His creations are sold at Michelin-star restaurants, high-end wine merchants and luxury hotels across France and around the world.

‘I am delighted to be embarking on this new chapter for the estate with Maison Billecart-Salmon,’ said Bretaudeau. ‘It will be a great support in ensuring the long-term success of our business and that of our teams. Together, we shall reach new heights to craft ever more exceptional wines.’

Mathieu Roland-Billecart, the CEO and seventh-generation family member at Champagne Billecart-Salmon, met Bretaudeau in 2018.

Bretaudeau has spent the past five years advising Champagne Billecart-Salmon on its biodynamic viticultural work.

The family-owned Champagne house, which is renowned for its flagship Champagne Brut Rosé, aims to increase the distribution of Bretaudeau’s wines in France and overseas.

‘The house is very pleased to be able to join forces with the highly talented winemaker Jérôme Bretaudeau,’ said Roland-Billecart. ‘We are firmly convinced that the terroirs of Muscadet and the western part of the Loire region have yet to achieve the full reputation they rightfully deserve, and we are determined to support him in his future projects.’

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