Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil-sur-Oger 1997
Wonderfully refined, it is intriguing and enticing, its minerality complemented by hints of white flowers, acacia and hawthorn. A salty note enhances aromas of bread crust, brioche and the merest hint of green apple and hazelnut.
The palate is quintessentially pure, the very epitome of balance and restraint. Exuberant on entry, the mousse becomes more of a caress, while... View More
Lightly burnished yellow-gold hue with a halo-like mousse. Lovely aged aromas of citrus, mineral and brioche. Citrus flavors of grapefruit and lemon peel laced with char and chalk. Lively, youthful finish embodies a perfectly dry, acidic brut style. With every release, this quintessential Blanc de Blancs sets the standard for chardonnay-based Champagne. $500 / 785 cases imported.
That these wines are both expensive and superb as a class comes as no surprise, and yet, even in the midst of such excellence, this bottling stands out for its full, rich, developed, incisively toasty first notes followed by deep, rich, chalky, hazelnut, honey and nicely fruity smells and flavors of extraordinary depth and volume. It captures a perfect mix of richness in its mousse and texture with the slight austerity one wants in Champagne, and, for all of its complexity, it promises to unwind further with age.
The pure essence of limestone, this vintage is maturing into the grandeur of a great Le Mesnil Champagne while remaining fresh and lively. It offers rich lemon curd and baked apple flavors, chalky power and gravitas without weight. The flavors remain impacted below the limestone earthiness, the wine's structure and balance suited to extended aging.
The fabled Salon's latest release is much riper and softer than the great steely 1996 vintage. This suggests it is likely to be ready to drink soon. In the meantime, the acidity is supremely fresh, with grapefruit edges and green apple flavors. And then there is minerality and a tight, structured aftertaste as a reminder that this great Champagne is always going to be more than its fruit.
Salon's 1997 Brut Blanc de Blancs is drop-dead gorgeous. There is a beautiful tension between the intense minerality of Mesnil and the warmth of the vintage. Textural depth, brilliance and expressive inner perfume are the hallmarks of this gorgeous Blanc de Blancs. Flowers, mint and crisp varietal fruit linger on the impeccable finish. This is a particularly youthful, vibrant disgorgement of the 1997 that can be enjoyed now or cellared. Disgorged First Trimester, 2010.
An elegant and very fresh but distinctly yeasty nose of stupendous breadth leads to incredibly intense, pure, detailed and vibrant flavors that possess superb depth and simply knockout length. This is a powerful Salon and even though it doesn’t have the solid acid spine of the very best vintages, this compensates by its approachability and terrific mouth feel.
Walnut oil and smoky suggestions of struck flint in the nose of Salon’s 1997 Brut Le Mesnil are joined by intimation of the fresh lime and grapefruit that go on to inform its silken yet vivacious and refreshing palate with metaphorically cooling and sorbet-like refreshment. There is a vivid, hauntingly long, wave-like and buoying exchange of chalk and oyster shell, kelp and iodine with luscious citrus against a backdrop of creamy richness. This superb Salon – slightly more restrained than its 1999 counterpart, but no less intriguing or alluring – will merit at least a decade of cellaring.
Light yellow with a slow bead. Deeply perfumed nose displays waxy orchard and pit fruit scents, along with toasty lees, woodsmoke and wet stone. Weighty pear and yellow peach flavors are given a bitter edge by fruit skin and quinine qualities, picking up salty minerals on the back end. Finishes with firm grip and powerful echoes of minerals and pear skin. This is already beginning to show complexity.
A delicate Champagne, with hints of honey and smoke winding through the apple pastry, orange peel and toast flavors. This is well-integrated, but the lively acidity still has the edge on the graphite-laced finish. Drink now through 2018. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.