Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil 1996  Front Label
Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil 1996  Front LabelSalon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil 1996  Front Bottle Shot

Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil 1996

  • D100
  • RP99
  • JS98
  • CG97
  • WE96
  • WW96
  • WS95
  • W&S93
750ML / 0% ABV
Other Vintages
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  • JS98
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  • CG97
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  • W&S96
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  • WS91
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  • WS96
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Winemaker Notes

The 1996 Salon is a pale yellow color with a touch of green. It is clear and lively, with fine, persistent bubbles and a stunning bouquet. Initially, the nose offers hints of green apple, which soon develop into lemon and grapefruit combined with pear and kiwi notes. The wine is complex and refreshing on the palate, displaying a burst of minerality. This is a well-made, rich, powerful Champagne, all-encompassing yet subtle, with contained strength.

Serving Suggestions
According to Didier Depond, Salon should be served in a tulip-shaped glass instead of a traditional champagne flute. "Because of the richness and complexity of its aromas, and its exceptional, lingering finish, we've found that Salon can be drunk in the same way as a great wine. This style of glass allows the wine to breathe more efficiently."

Vineyard Profile
Salon uses only grapes from severely pruned vines that are at least 40-years-old and grown on mid-slopes. All of the fruit is picked and sorted by hand.

Winemaking
Pressing is carried out with a traditional press used solely for Salon. Only the cuvée, or first pressing, is used for its wine. The cuvée is the lightest, purest and ripest juice that contains the highest amount of acid. The first fermentation occurs in a stainless steel tank, where the temperature is controlled and freshness preserved. To that end, the wine does not see any oak, nor does it go through malolactic fermentation.

Aging takes place in Salon's chalk cellars for 8–10 years. The slow marriage of acidity and fruit that takes place over time gives Salon its signature elegance, finesse, balance and exceptional depth, as well as a fine, persistent mousse. Riddling is carried out manually, and because the bottle has an embossed relief (the word "Salon") at the point where the bottle begins to taper toward the neck, a special technique is required to prevent sediment collecting in the lines of the relief. The bottle starts out with the embossed relief at the 12 o'clock position. From that point, it is riddled left to right, then right to left, until the sediment is trapped at the top of the neck of the bottle. The wine is hand-disgorged only when an order is received.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
D 100
Decanter
A warm, even hot, spring with no real change during the summer, conditions that allowed the grapes to gorge themselves on sugar while preserving good acidity. Harvest began on 23 September. Hazelnut, spices, flowers form part of the remarkable aromatic complexity of this Champagne that also has also remarkable depth of character. Perhaps the most impressive Salon of the tasting. On the palate, a sensation of flesh and opulence, but also the telltale precision and erect backbone of racy acidity, and an enthralling finish ending on a refreshing note of salinity. A truly great Salon that leaves one speechless.
RP 99
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This bottle of the 1996 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut was drinking superbly and represents the apotheosis of Blanc de Blancs, unfurling over the course of three hours with a stunningly complex bouquet of citrus oil, confit lemon, dried white flowers and oyster shell, with hints of praline and pastry cream becoming more pronounced as the wine opens up in the glass. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, defined by the incisive spine so typical of the vintage that, here, is cloaked in layers of crisp fleshy and chalky extract. The finish is long, penetrating and saline. Unfortunately, since the 1996 Salon has been traded so zealously over the last decade, finding a bottle that hasn't travelled too far can be a challenge. But from a perfectly stored bottle, this is just the beginning.
JS 98
James Suckling
Incredible freshness and tightness with fantastic acidity and minerality. Full-bodied, compacted and intense. Flinty! Then light yeast and bread dough. Superb. In suspended animation!
CG 97
Connoisseurs' Guide
Wouldn't it be lovely if we could drink Salon Le Mesnil every day? This is an incredibly beautiful, sophisticated, lavishly appointed bubbly with an exquisite blend of aged yeast notes smelling of lightly toasted brioche layered atop scents of vanilla, Meyer lemon, chalk and minerals all in the most seamless and creamy of fashions. Its mousse is smooth but energetic and comes with appropriately pinpoint-sized bubbles. Sporting all the finesse that Blanc de Blancs can manage yet rewardingly deep and rich in flavor, this wine is easily the most impressive bottling in this go-round of world-class bubblies.
WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
The fabled Salon's latest release is much riper and softer than the great steely 1996 vintage. This suggests it is likely to be ready to drink soon. In the meantime, the acidity is supremely fresh, with grapefruit edges and green apple flavors. And then there is minerality and a tight, structured aftertaste as a reminder that this great Champagne is always going to be more than its fruit.
Cellar Selection
WW 96
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
Delicate aromas of fresh baguette, pecan and chalk with a whiff of Fino Sherry. Bright citrus flavors with mixed caramel, butterscotch and drying mineral notes that mesh nicely in the close. A broad-shouldered wine with the stuffing needed for aging.
WS 95
Wine Spectator
A deep, vinous style, with understated power and grace. The lemon verbena, toast and honey aromas and flavors are propelled by the well-integrated structure and fine bubbles. There's just a hint of greenness, marking its youthful impetuosity. Has great length. Best from 2010 through 2030.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
Salon is intended for long aging. In 1996, the power of the vintage adds a few years to the wine's longevity, while making it nearly unapproachable on release. What's apparent is the potent flavor of ripe fruit, as succulent as nectarine, as tangy as lime zest. Then the acidity emerges, piercing every baroque layer of flavor, needing a decade or more to relent. It should begin to reach maturity 25 years from the vintage.
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Salon

Salon

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Salon, France
Salon Entrance to the Winery Winery Image

Salon is a unique Champagne. All the emphasis in the production of this exceptional wine is on the singular. It was originally the product of one single man, Aimé Salon; from one single region, the Côte de Blancs; from one single cru, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; from one single grape variety, Chardonnay; and from one single vintage, with no blending whatsoever. Created in 1911 with its first vintage in 1905, Champagne Salon is the creation of Aimé Salon, a champagne connoisseur enchanted then seduced by the terroir of Le Mesnil. After World War I, he was encouraged by his numerous friends to profit more fully from his wine and the house of Salon was created to cater to his new clientele. Headed by Salon until his death in 1943, the house was then left to his nephew. In 1988, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, a family-owned company, became the majority shareholder of Champagne Salon. Today, the house of Salon, along with its ancient neighbor and sister, Champagne Delamotte (the 5th oldest Champagne house, founded in 1760) are directed by one man, Didier Depond.

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Champagne

France

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Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.

Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.

With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’

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Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.

AOT605763_1996 Item# 605763

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