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Natural sophistication. 37th and last vintage of the 20th century, Salon 1999 Champagne has stirring perfection, the future power of an adolescent.
A very pale yellow with barely green hints and a lively nose but still discreet, 1999 Salon, with its clear immediate taste, has that juvenile grace that captures the palate, itself straight, firm and textured. A quite natural sophistication that is a gift and persists just like the creamy bubbles.
Brioche, white bread, white blossom, white fruit and bitter almond flavours are still developing. The middle palate and aftertaste are crystalline and it has a lingering finish with hints of citrus.
Ten years is all it has taken the 1999 Salon to reach dazzling maturity. Decades will follow.
Savour it, drink it barely cold, between 13° and 15 °. Sensual pleasure assured.
Delicacies to accompany 1999 Salon:
Exquisite, delicate, gracious and subtle dishes. Warm oysters and Aquitaine caviar, a lightly cooked sea bass with a truffle risotto or calf’s sweetbreads with morel mushrooms. An excellent Parma or Iberico ham, the centre of a Parmesan cheese, aged for thirty-six months. Or simply by itself, with grilled almonds.
Powerful, profound, lively and complex wines.
Salon is an exceptional Champagne, arguably the rarest of all. Located in the celebrated grand cru village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs, Salon is made in tiny quantities (5,000 cases per vintage) and only when conditions are absolutely right, a rare occurrence given Champagne’s marginal climate.
1999 is the thirty-seventh and last vintage of the 20th century: a wild nature, to be tamed, with power and expectancy, looking to a glorious future, still imminent. It has the crazy charm of adolescence, this devilish beauty that is being transformed into magnificence.
37 vintages, all different, all sublime, all unique, like this exceptional Salon Champagne, for which the word “one” is of prime importance: originally the Champagne of one man, Aimé Salon, cultivated on one stretch of land, the Côte des Blancs, from one vineyard, Mesnilsur-Oger, from one type of grape, Chardonnay and one year.
Since its first vintage in 1905 Champagne Salon has declared just 41 vintages (the most recent being 2008). The 1999 vintage, currently on release, is the 37th vintage to be released. Exceptional complexity, focus and elegance are common to all vintages of Salon. Like all great wines, Salon expresses this inherent identity irrespective of the vagaries of specific vintage conditions.
Champagne Salon is based in the heart of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, one of only 17 grand cru villages in the Champagne region. Le Mesnil has developed a reputation for champagnes of unparalleled structural finesse and full flavour, linked to the depth and moisture content of its chalk soils.
Eugène-Aimé Salon created Salon from the grapes of the single-hectare vineyard known as ‘Le Jardin de Salon’as well as a handful of small vineyards parcels in Le Mesnil, which he identified himself.
Salon’s approach runs counter to the norm in Champagne. While most champagne is created on the understanding that blending – of different grape varieties, vintages and areas - will create overall harmony, Salon is the very opposite. A single cuvée from a single vintage, a single village and terroir, and a single grape variety, Salon celebrates the unique and the distinct.
The ultimate Chardonnay specialist, Champagne Salon pioneered the Blanc de Blancs style. Until then Champagne had always included Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for structure and weight, however Eugène-Aimé Salon believed these varieties compromised finesse. He was dogged in his belief that structure could be achieved in champagne via high quality fruit and long ageing.
The wine is left to develop on its lees in Salon’s chalk cellars for an average of 10 years, though sometimes up to 14 years. The ageing process is transformative. Over time the wine develops its fine mousse, while its acidity and fruit meld and come into focus. Each bottle of Salon is riddled by hand.
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. Today, the house of Salon, along with its ancient neighbour and sister, Champagne Delamotte (the fifth oldest Champagne house, founded in 1760) are directed by one man, Didier Depond.