Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger 2002
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Salon 2002 is what we French might call "une belle ame" – a noble soul, the soul of Champagne Salon. Salon 2002 is the very essence of Salon, representing everything Salon has ever stood for. Its self-assurance and power give it the poise of a ballerina. Its mellow golden color; lively, delicate nose; the palate exploding with flavors of honeyed orange flower, candied citrus fruits and madeleine buns fresh from the oven. On tasting, the wine feels simultaneously rich and restrained, the complexity of the aromas and flavors almost precision-engineered. Salon in heart and soul.
The Salon 2002 will pair perfectly with scallops, sweetbreads with a small piece of molten parmesan, light fish dishes simply served. Oysters, lobster, pheasant, capon with light mushroom sauce and dark rice.
Wine Enthusiast - "The 35th and most recent vintage of Salon since the house was founded in 1905 is memorable and magnificent. Made only from Chardonnay grown in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, it combines intense minerality, a crisp textured core and the beginnings of maturity. The depths of this wine, with its layers of fruit and steeliness, are superb. Even after 12 years, it still needs to age further. Drink from 2018. "
James Suckling - "A subtle, intense champagne that shows a complex character of lilac, minerals, sliced lemon, apple and white pepper. It’s full-bodied and dense but racy and agile with a lightness and freshness. It has a gloriously long finish. It changes every moment in the glass, and has such clarity. It’s magnificent to drink now, but shows great texture and structure for ageing. Best since 1982."
Wine Spectator - "Ethereal, with a refined, delicate mousse and a haunting array of flavors, from the vein of chalky minerality to ripe pastry fruit to a skein of spice and richer accents of spun honey, creamed almond and fleur de sel. The finely meshed acidity is racy and persistent, pushing the flavor range on the long, lacy finish. Lovely."
Decanter - "Just a half-point difference from a perfect score might make you believe that this is a fast maturing Salon, Unfortunately, it will take almost 20 years before its full maturity is reached. In fact, my high score is probably quite rare since the wine is extremely young right now. Personally I have come to love the youthful expression where all instruments are playing their own tune separately. Mouthfeel is velvety and aromatically the walnut oil and the salty minerality are playing against the apple blossom. Here we have a purity and brightness that sharpens all the senses. This magic wine reminds me a lot of my first meeting with legendary 1982 Salon. "
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "The 2002 Salon is utterly mesmerizing. I have tasted the 2002 six or seven tiems since its release and during those two months or so the wine has developed quite dramatically, as some of the exuberance that was present at the outset has begun to recede, revealing the wine’s intense underlying minerality. The 2002 is a huge, dense wine loaded with fruit. All of the classic Salon citrus, slate and floral notes are present, but it is the wine’s superb textural richness that stands out most. Even though I have not followed my own advice, I suggest readers to plan on cellaring the 2002 for a good number of years. Because of its density and depth, I expect the 2002 will develop into a fairly exotic, voluptuous Champagne, within the context of Salon, of course. I also suggest keeping an eye out for the magnums, which are sure to disappear from the market pretty much the minute they arrive.
Rating: 96+ Points"
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Situated in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs, the House of Salon produces only one Champagne, the Cuvée "S". This Champagne comes from a 2.5-acre vineyard owned by Salon (Le Jardin de Salon, or "Salon's Garden") and from 19 smaller parcels representing 22.5 acres of vineyards in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, all chosen by founder Eugène-Aimé Salon early in the 20th century. There have been no changes to the methods and principles of making Champagne Salon that he laid down over a century ago, and that is certainly a testament to Salon's judgment and discrimination.
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.