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Antonio Galloni – “The 2006 Salon is a very rich wine, almost uncharacteristically so. Deep and exotic the 2006 exudes richness in all of its dimensions, with myriad inflections of sumptuous fruit that fill out its ample, large-scaled frame. Today, the 2006 is surprisingly accessible for a young Salon, but it needs time to shed some baby fat. At times, the 2006 recalls the 2002, but it appears to have more phenolic intensity and overall structure. Even with all of its flamboyance and pure volume, the 2006 retains quite a bit of energy and freshness. I imagine it will be a fascinating, utterly compelling Champagne to follow over the next several decades.” 97/100
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.
Whilst generally summarised as a relatively warm and dry year, the 2006 season was much more complex in reality. After a dull and uneventful winter and spring, June and July brought much-needed sunshine with fine conditions for flowering. With this came fears of the heatwave challenges of 2003 returning. Indeed, the heat triggered a series of hailstorms, though fortunately Salon’s vineyards were spared. However, August then arrived to plummeting temperatures and unrelenting cold and rainy conditions. Were it not for glorious sunshine in September, the grapes may never have ripened to the perfect maturity levels that they eventually did. A challenging vintage no doubt, 2006 is acknowledged for its richness and balanced acidity but is typically less pronounced than cooler years.
Although a complicated year, yields in 2006 were neither too little nor too much: 53,000 bottles of Salon 2006 were produced, an average rate for this singular prestige cuvée.
A cold winter and springtime frosts laid the foundations for this vintage of abundant yields (12,997 kg/ha). Uneventful flowering was followed by exceptionally hot and sunny weather, which lasted until August. A dank August left producers fearful but fortunately warm, bright conditions in September redressed the balance. Harvest commenced on September 9th, producing grapes high in sugar level but notably low on acidity. The general health of the grapes was sufficient, producing wines which excel over the preceding 2005 vintage, another warm and ample year. The year's greatest wines are supple and expressive and despite the richness they escape being overly heavy. Overt and welcoming upon launch, the best come with excellent capacity for ageing. Winey, and richly fruity characters, most Champagnes regrettably miss some tension and finesse. Wines of the vintage include Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Krug Vintage and Dom Pérignon Rosé.