A touch smoky at first, almost white peppery. Creamy brioche on the palate, superb balance between depth, complexity and vitality. Tense and incredibly persistent. This really is delicious now but Didier Depond, president of Champagne Salon, suggests Salon just starts to get into its stride after 20 years…
There's vibrancy and a sense of finesse to this rich and creamy Champagne, which is defined by racy acidity and a streak of chalky minerality. Offers an expansive palate of glazed apricot, oyster shell, toasted almond and spun honey flavors, accented by hints of ground ginger, dried lemon peel and marzipan. The finish is racy and persistent. Drink now through 2030. 5,650 cases made. 97/100. Drink 2015-2026
Just a half-point difference from a perfect score might make you believe that this is a fastmaturing Salon. Unfortunately, it will take almost 20 years before its full maturity is reached. In fact, my high score is probably quite rare since the wine is extremely young right now. Personally I have come to love the youthful expression where all instruments are playing their own tune separately. Mouthfeel is velvety and aromatically the walnut oil and the salty minerals are playing against the apple blossom. Here we have a purity and brightness that sharpens all senses. This magic wine reminds me a lot of my first meeting with legendary 1982 Salon.
Champagne, the world's greatest sparkling wine, needs little introduction - with imitations produced in virtually every country capable of growing grapes, including such unlikely candidates as India and China. The Champagne region, to the north of Paris, has the most northerly vineyards in France, with vines grown on slopes with a southerly exposure to maximise sunlight. The soil is chalky, providing an excellent balance of drainage and water retention. The key to the wine is in the cellar - the bubbles result from a second fermentation in the bottle and the rich toasty flavours in great Champagne come from extended bottle ageing on the yeasty lees. Until the eighteenth century, the wines produced in the Champagne area were light acidic white wines, with no hint of sparkle. However glass and closure technology developed at that time and it was not long before Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Hautvilliers, started experimenting with blends and produced the first recognisable champagne. In a world accustomed to still wines, the advent of champagne was almost a flop. It was saved when it became fashionable at the French court as a result of Louis XV's mistress Madame de Pompadour commenting "Champagne isthe only wine that lets a woman remain beautiful after she has drunk it." And the rest is history, with famous (or infamous) champagne lovers including Casanova, Dumas, Wagner, Winston Churchill, James Bond and Coco Chanel.