Interview with Mathieu Roland-Billecart

29th November 2018


Champagne Billecart-Salmon, which celebrates its bicentenary this year, announced the appointment of Mathieu Roland-Billecart to the position of Chief Executive Officer.  A member of the 7th generation of the family, Mathieu takes over the role in January 2019. I ask him about his new position:

We can imagine it must be a very proud moment to stand as CEO of Billecart-Salmon, I’m sure you have many plans for the brand – Can you share any with us?

It is, indeed, a very proud moment!  It is my job to maintain and, where we can, further improve the quality we offer our customers.  We have all the tools to do that; the tools being people and passion, vineyards, our vinification methods and time/ageing.  In the last year, we have opened a new Chai, which houses 24 (80hl) thermoregulated foudres to do more vinification in oak and we will continue to invest in making the product even better quality.  As an overall objective, I’d like to ensure I pass the business on to the 8th generation in an even better condition as my cousin has left it for me, with the same values and confident that the next person will adhere to the same principals as those that have gone before him (or her).

Does Billecart-Salmon encompass both tradition and innovation in how its Champagne is made?

Absolutely, we always have done.  In terms of winemaking, if you take cold fermentation, for example, we were the pioneers of that method and that is an innovation that has effectively become a tradition for our house.  We are always seeking ways that we can innovate to constantly improve the quality of the Champagnes we are offering our customers.  Our Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois is another example where we have blended the art of innovation while at the same time maintaining the traditional methods.  This Champagne is 100% vinified in oak and then ages in our 200 year-old cellars.  We are curious and brave in what we do, and we are not afraid to try new things.

In terms of distribution, we are also very innovative.  We have recently opened our own e-store in France so customers that do not have access to independent wine shops can find all our cuvées.  We also set up a concierge service in London and Paris, providing our customers with an opportunity to come to us directly with any questions on our cuvées, where to find stockists close to home, or enabling them to buy direct from us for larger quantities.

For you, which of the labels of Billecart-Salmon is the most perfect glass of bubbly? We’d love to know why.

This is like asking me to choose my favourite child! If I had to choose, I would say that I have two (like my children).  The Brut Rosé because it is the one that has anchored our reputation globally and the Brut Sous Bois because it showcases some our recent investments and demonstrates that you can do a Champagne vinified in oak that keeps its finesse and elegance.

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.