• Country ranking ?

  • Producer ranking ?

  • Decanting time

  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    Salmon velouté with lemon and cream

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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 – buildin...


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 S...


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 abs...


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 o...


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

47 tasting notes

Tasting note


Medium, Green-Yellow and Clear


Endless, Extensive and Flavorful


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


Intense, Refined, Seductive and Pure




High in Acidity, Medium tannin, Perfectly balanced, Balanced, Concentrated, Youthful, Full-bodied, Firm, Round, Rich and Dry


Well made and Outstanding

Written Notes

Finally, one of the truly great champagnes to conclude, the 1996 Salon, a famous blanc de blancs. Still so fresh and young, this will outlive most of us. My notes were simple: “Lord, take me now. 100.” Okay, not terribly helpful technically, but you get the gist. Not sure champagne gets better, but obviously it does get different. As an aside, a week later, I had the chance to enjoy a 1990 Salon. Another great vintage and great champagne, but much more advanced and mature. Great stuff, but I’d be drinking it sooner than later. The 1996? Any time you like.


  • 100p

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

A seductive golden colour and a surprisingly forward nose which marries honey, acacia, brioche and truffle. It is on the palate that the identity of the year really starts to sing, with rich notes of lemon meringue, hazelnut and blackcurrant shining through. Beneath this the ripe fruit is slumbering; its ultimate manifestation will herald unparalled complexity and profundity. Similar to the '90 but many suspect it will, over time, be even better.

  • 97p

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

  • 96p

There's power to this lean Champagne, with the vivid acidity swathed in a fine, creamy mousse and flavors of toasted brioche, kumquat, pastry cream, candied ginger and poached plum that dance across the palate. An underpinning of smoky mineral gains momentum on the lasting finish.

  • 97p

The 1996 Salon is just beginning to enter the early part of its plateau of maturity. Time in bottle has softened some of the razor-sharp focus the 1996 had when it was first released, but all of the energy it had as a young Champagne remains. A host of candied lemon, almonds and wild flowers punctuate the sculpted, persistent finish. Readers who own the 1996 can look forward to another two decades or more of exceptional drinking. 

  • 95p
Pale, green yellow colour. Reserved, intense creamy nose reveals some green apple notes. Dry and crisp palate, creamy mousse, with long lingering mineral finish. Very refined and delicate style, but still closed. The wine needs to be cellared for at least 10 to 12 years before starting to deliver its nuances.
  • 92p
Salon 1996 Completely undeveloped but very deep and intense nose with hints of white flowers, lime, lime skins, green apples, fresh hazelnuts and minerality. Killer palate with laser like focus and a completely seamless and pure fruit that is still very, very youthful. This wine grips your palate with lime, green apples, white flowers and a profound minerality. However, today this is all about the perfect structure and never ending finish that sings with minerality and notes of fresh nuts. A stunner as always. Perfect Champagne! Drink 2020-2050 99p.
  • 99p
Förmodligen en av de största Salon som gjorts. Väldigt stilig och återhållsam i doften med klara toner av nysnö, statisk elektricitet och nytvättade lakan. Polerad och snygg, men med en muskulös omfamnade kropp som lindar in steniga Mesnil-mineral och bitande syror i en bedräglig kokong. Årgångsbetyg: 5 av 5 poäng. Kan vara den bästa årgången genom tiderna. Inte sedan 1928 har man sett så hög syra i kombination med hög potentiell alkohol. En lång, torr och mycket solig sommar gav druvor med synnerligen god koncentration av socker och fruktsyra. 1996 är en riktig monsterårgång och det i sig är väl ingen nyhet. Familjen Diebolt i Cramant tycker dock att syranivåerna är på tok för höga på vissa håll. Man brukar ju säga att alla kan göra bra vin under stora årgångar men om vädret är för extremt behövs det skickligt vinmakande också för att tackla alla ovanliga fenomen. Kommentar från provningen: Hoppsan vad gott! Normalt sett är jag inte så imponerad som de flesta andra av denna supertighta årgång. Rangordning i provningen: 5:a av 19.
  • 97p
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Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne

Vintage Quality


Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential


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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