Domaine Billaud – Simon
Domaine Billaud-Simon was founded in 1815 by Charles Louis Noël Billaud upon his return from the Napoleonic Wars. He planted vines on his family holdings, which were later expanded through the marriage of his relative Jean Billaud to Renée Simon in the 1930s. Situated behind high walls near the river Serein, the winery is now helmed by Jean’s son, Bernard. Known as one of the top producers in Chablis. Billaud Simon’s 20 hectares include vineyards in 4 of the 7 Grand Crus: Blanchots, Les Clos, Les Preuses, and Vaudésir, and four leading Premier Crus: Fourchaume, Mont de Milieu, Montée de Tonnerre, and Vaillons. They also make AC Chablis from estate fruit in the Kimmeridgian soils surrounding their 1er and Grand Cru vineyards.
At the age of 18, Bernard Billaud left Chablis for Paris to study fine art. He made a successful career in communications consulting, while continuing to find time for his artistic pursuits of painting, sculpture and jazz music. Eventually however the family business’s siren song lured him back to Chablis in 1991 where he made it his mission to increase the quality of the wine. He wanted to produce a classically styled, ethereal Chablis of delicacy.
Bernard completely overhauled the winery at Billaud-Simon, installing a pneumatic press, all new tanks, and the most modern fermentation equipment available. Although they now have state of the art technology, they maintain an important balance with traditional practices.
This includes the use of natural yeast for fermentation, and natural advancement into malo. Most wines are vinified and matured in stainless tanks and don’t see any wood. There are two exceptions: Premier Cru Mont de Milieu Vieilles Vignes and Grand Cru Blanchots Vieilles Vignes, which each see some large oak. Light fining and filtration result in Chablis of elegance, purity, balance and freshness. They are delicious when young, and even more beautiful with age.