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Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil (in Gift Box) 1990

Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
  • RP96
0% ABV
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  • D98
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Winemaker Notes

The House of Salon makes no other wine, only this rare vintage tête de cuvée blanc de blancs, with grapes hand-selected from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru vineyard in the Côte des Blancs. Since 1911, vintages have been declared no more than four times a decade. Aged en tirage for eight to ten years and hand-disgorged when a specific order is received, Salon is long and creamy in flavor, slowly revealing its wondrous and unique splendors. Salon's 1985, 1988, and 1990 vintages are among the most highly praised consecutive releases from a single Champagne house.

The 1990 vintage is only the 33rd vintage produced since the creation of the House of Salon in 1911. It is certainly one of the greatest vintages ever produced. The year began inauspiciously in the Côte des Blancs, with an early bud-break severely damaged by two frosts in April; forty-five percent of the vineyards were hit. June was wet and cold, resulting in further losses from coulure and millerandage. A miserable beginning, but as if to compensate, the remainder of the summer was glorious. Exceptional ripening conditions prevailed for the growing season, without cessation even through harvest. The harvest began on September 14th in Le Mesnil, with Chardonnay of unusual homogeneity and high acidity, promising greatness.

Salon 1990 tasting notes: The color is deep gold, with a fine and delicate mousse. An aromatic explosion of lemon, lime, and spices amidst very floral notes greets the nose and gives a freshness to the bouquet. The taste is structured, with an ever-present but not aggressive acidity, which will allow it to age far over twenty years. This wine melds seemingly impossible contradictions – ample yet delicate, creamy acidity, dense yet elegant.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Salon
Salon, Champagne, France
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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.

Champagne

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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, three varieties are permitted for use in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. 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.’

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.

LPASALON_1990 Item# 48863