On July 29th, Xavier Wine Company and Champagne Billecart-Salmon brought 23 guests and 6 crew members together — bound by a shared love for wine — aboard the Ventura sailboat for a Champagne-filled voyage along the Hudson River. Guests enjoyed a tasting of 5 of Billecart’s top quality offerings paired with fresh shucked oysters, crab cakes, and other summer bites, all while soaking in gorgeous vistas of the Manhattan skyline.
The Ventura, a solid mahogany sailing yacht created by one of America’s greatest yacht designers, Nathanael G. Herreshoff, was commissioned in 1912 by Citibank founder George Baker. The boat is affectionately referred to as “The Great Gatsby Yacht of NYC” because Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald often sailed aboard the Ventura with Mr. Baker and his daughter Daisy, both characters in the novel.
Billecart-Salmon has long stood for excellence in Champagne. Founded in 1818 by Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, the company started as a small Champagne house situated in the charming village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. Since its inception, every member of the Billecart family has been committed to perpetuate the family tradition through standing by their immutable oath:
Give priority to quality, strive for excellence.
Because of its limited ownership, descendants of the family have been able to maintain an extremely high standard for quality across the board. They own a total of 15 hectares of vineyards, eleven of which are in the Vallee de la Marne split between 4ha of Grand Cru in Ay and Premier Cru in Mareuil-sur-Ay and 7ha in the village of Damery. In the Cote des Blancs, the family owns 4ha of Grand Cru vineyards in the villages of Chouilly, Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Because of their diverse vineyard holdings, Billecart is able to create unique blends found nowhere else in the Champagne world.
The company is equally dedicated to promoting Champagne as a wine designed for the dinner table and showcasing it’s remarkable ability to pair well with a wide variety of cuisines.
“Oftentimes people only think of Champagne for celebrations, rather than treating it like a still wine as an integral component of a meal. Champagne is one of the most versatile wines in the world for food and I think we were able to show that with the variety of wines and bites that were served.”
– Sara Moll, Sommelier and Xavier Events Director.
Champagne Billecart-Salmon wines that were served (and available for sale in the shop):
Brut Sous Bois $80
“It’s a unique and eye opening experience to be able to taste numerous Champagne styles side by side from the same producer to really understand the variation and the nuance of these wines. It allowed guests to truly see what makes each one unique.”
– James Parisi, Xavier Wine Company proprietor