France Champagne Le Mesnil-sur-Oger

No other house in Champagne is as guarded of the wines that bear its name. And since the 1911 was first sold to the public, only 36 vintages have emerged from the hallowed stone Salon cellars in almost 100 years.

Salon is located in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, in the heart of the Côtes des Blancs.

Salon is a "négociant manipulateur", whose vineyards are located entirely in le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs. Three-hectares are owned by Salon themselves, known as "Salon's garden", which is augmented by 20 smaller parcels selected by Aimé Salon when he began making champagne. These long-term contract have remained unchanged in decades.

The Chardonnay grapes (no Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier) are picked by hand and sorted before entering the chai where they are pressed in a traditional press located in le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The first fermentation is carried out in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats, their aim to maintain a good level of acidity, to engender a fresh, vibrant style of champagne with suppressed malolactic fermentation (which is allowed for Delamotte.) The bottles are painstakingly riddled and disgorged by hand, so each bottle has a kid-glove élevage.

The bottles remain in their cellars for a minimum of 8 years with a further six to nine months before disgorgement, which means there is a ten-year stock on their cellars. The 1990 vintage was released in 2001, the 1996 in 2006 and the 2002 in 2014. Just one cuvée of Salon is produced, the quantity between 6,000 and 10,000 cases per annum, although in 1990 that figure was under 4,000 cases.

Today (2015, Sept) the vintages officially declared are: 1921, 1925, 1928, 1934, 1937, 1942, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1988, 1985 (released after 88), 1990, 1995, 1996, and in the future 1997 and 1999."

In a region still dominated by tradition, Champagne Salon remains a quality-obsessed maverick, retaining the spirit of its founder to this day. Every bottle is tasted before it is corked to ensure the highest quality levels. And Salon marches to the beat of its own drum. Classic vintages at other top champagne houses, such as 1975 and 2012, did not make the cut at Salon, while the generally poor champagne vintage of 1951 is classic Salon. The 2008 Salon, due out within a decade, has been declared by Salon’s managing director Didier Depond as one of the finest vintages ever. Because of its smaller volumes and extreme quality, it will be released only in magnums — the first vintage of Salon to be bottled in this way.

It is always difficult assessing Salon in its primordial stage because it is always so reserved, so steely and primal even after ten years gestation in their deep chalky cellars. One must estimate its potential, envisage how this adolescent will blossom into adulthood; gauge the balance, the intensity of flavours, the weight and length.

Salon has one crucial advantage over other Blanc de Blancs and that is its propitious terroir. The more I reflected upon it, the more parallels I could see with Montrachet: that minerality, the poise and definition, the need for time to unlock its complexity and nuances.

The Salon 1996 is touted as one of the greatest Champagne never product. Flowering commenced on June 21st: the summer solstice, which is regarded as auspicious by the champagnois. During the warm summer the vines relied on intermittent showers and the porous chalky soil to alleviate hydric stress. Harvest began on 23rd September and picking took place in optimal conditions.

Wine available

Al momento i vini di Salon sono terminati

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