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  • Country ranking ?

    213
  • Producer ranking ?

    4
  • Decanting time

    30min
  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    Salmon velouté with lemon and cream

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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1996 Salon
A pale yellow wine with hints of green, “as bright as the morning sunlight on the highest snow caps,” says Didier Depond, chairman of Champagne Salon Le Mesnil. With fine, active bubbles, it has both the electricity and impertinence of youth, yet shows complexity and layers of aromas.

On the palate, Salon Le Mesnil displays a remarkable subtlety of flavors with hints of green apples, fresh citrus – lemon and grapefruit – building into mellow hints of ripe pear and kiwi. It is a virile, strongly-built wine with restrained power.

Salon Le Mesnil’s restrained power, dazzling aromas and mesmerizing intensity will complement dishes that combine rarity with beauty, such as the finest seafood – seaweed fragranced lobster, scallops, freshly-roasted cod sprinkled with a few drops of green olive oil – great Parma and Iberico ham (fat and aromatic), a delicious potato gratin with caviar or a veal casserole with morel mushrooms.

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The Story

This Champagne is produced from a one-hectare parcel owned by Salon: "Salon’s garden", and from 19 other smaller parcels in Mesnil-sur-Oger, chosen by Aimé Salon at the beginning of the century. The wines are cellared in the bottle for an average of 10 years, gaining in complexity and finesse.

The proof that memory and history are important is shown by the bottles in the cellars from nearly all the vintages that have ever been produced at Salon. Headed by Aimé 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.

Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs grand cru vineyard, Le Mesnil-sur- Oger. The densely planted vines are located on the mid-slope in chalky soil, and the Cordon de Royat method of trellising is used, which allows access to the soil at the base of the vines.

The grapes are picked and sorted by hand. Only the first pressing, or cuvée, is used. This is the lightest, freshest juice, containing the highest percentage of acidity, which is essential to the evolution and vivacity of the Champagne. The first fermentation takes place in a stainless steel tank. The wine receives no oak exposure and does not undergo malolactic fermentation.

The wine is cellared in the bottle for an average of 10 years, gaining in complexity and finesse. Riddling is done by hand. All bottles are disgorged within 8 months of the first disgorgement, also by hand.

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Wine Information

1996 / In the wake of a dry, grey and cold winter (albeit one with only rare frosts), budburst took place mid-April owing to a sharp rise in temperature. However May was marked by very low temperatures, although with no rainfall. Early June was hot and sunny. Capricious summer alternated between sizzling heat and rain at the end of August. Harvesting was set to start from 16th September to 1st October. The composition of the 1996 musts was absolutely exceptional. It was impossible to find identical analytical characteristics in past harvests, i.e. such richness in sugar and such strong total acidity. The characteristics of the 1996 wine offer a long cellaring potential.

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Vintage 1996

Up to this point 1996 has been considered a fantastic vintage which produced classic wines; the best since 1990. A long, dry summer produced grapes of record ripeness with record acidity. Some, including myself, question how the 1996s are aging. The wines are generally characterized by a distinctive rather lemony acidity and very good attack, but some wines now seem terribly austere, while others already seem dangerously short of fruit. None of the subsequent vintages are quite as distinctive as 1996, which in the more successful cases should almost certainly be drunk after the 1999s.

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Average Bottle Price

2018 2015 2012 2010 2005
532€ +40.4% 379€ +19.2% 318€ +10.0% 289€ +4.3% 277€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

45 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Medium, Green-Yellow and Clear

ending

Long, Extensive and Flavorful

flavors

Floral, Nutty, Citrus, Bread, Mineral and White fruits

nose

Intense, Refined, Complex and Ripe

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Medium tannin, Balanced, Concentrated, Complex, Youthful, Full-bodied, Round, Rich, Firm and Dry

Verdict

Well made and Outstanding

Written Notes

One of those paradox wines that has been utterly stunning since release
though clearly drinking it is an act of vinicide if ever there was one. On
release, it was being compared to the legendary 1928. 

A gloriously complex nose of nuts, citrus, florals, and tobacco leaf. Still
tight and fresh. Bright acidity, with grapefruit touches. As one moves
through it, nuances of cumquats, dried apricots, white peaches, and honey
emerge. This is a truly brilliant champagne but the more time you give it,
the better it will look. 99 (and in time surely full marks). 

On an even more recent occasion, served blind, I picked it as a 2002 and
again gave it 99. 

  • 99p

Someone called Salon ‘the Montrachet of Champagne’ following the 1996 Salon.  It was a little tough after the perfect ’69, but it was so fresh and zippy.  The Zen Master was all over its ‘tangerine’ notes (96+).

  • 96p
It is always just as exciting and different to taste the first glass of a newly released vintage Salon. There is nothing that is as perky and acid, as almost painfully fresh and full of go. In the midst of this 96 which is as clear as a bell and razorsharp, there is a buttery layer of the highest class, as in a Clos du Mesnil. The journey has begun!
  • 94p

“The combination of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger’s raw power, Salon’s inox-fermented non-maloed winemaking and the extremities of the 1996 vintage suggest a masochistic experience. But miraculously the result is one of all times finest Salons (given that you love the sensation of acidity, a prerequisite of any Salon fan). This is truly razor-shard and driven, aging painfully slow for the impatient. ”

  • 94p

Delicious! Not at all skinny or austere – quite evolved, deep, beautifully balanced and engaging. Long and satisfying.

  • 96p
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Information

Origin

Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne

Vintage Quality

Extraordinary

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

Be Cautious

Inside Information

In the Cellar 
Mar 2009
Antonio Galloni 97+ Drink: N/A $339-$859

This bottle of the 1996 Salon is like every other bottle I have had recently, which is to say tight, tight, tight. Still, this painfully unevolved, mineral-driven wine shows tons of potential in its floral, white fruits. In a recent tasting of the 1979 Champagnes, the Salon was one of the finest wines, but it needed several hours of air to open up. Although the 1996 is pure magic in a glass, it remains a wine for the exceedingly patient.

 

 

1996 Salon 93 points (97) Richard Juhlin

Probably one of the greatest Salons ever made. It is very handsome and restrained on the nose, with the clear tones of snow, static electricity and freshly laundered sheets. Polished and pretty, but with a muscular embracing body which wraps the rocky Mesnil minerals and bitter acids in a fraudulent cocoon.

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 Salon 1996  has updated wine and vintage information

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