Spotlight on: Salon Le Mesnil
Salon, a tiny house on the Côte de Blancs, produces what connoisseurs consider to be the quintessential Blanc de Blancs. Salon, along with Delamotte, is part of the Laurent-Perrier group since 1989. Here we take a look at why they have such a good reputation and what it is that got them there.
- Less is More
Salon produces Champagnes in minuscule amounts (50,000 bottles a year, if at all) from over 40-year-old vines in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (one of the greatest crus of the Côte de Blancs).
Salon produces the only wine in the world not to be made every year and is on average only declared about 3 times a decade.
- That Salon Touch
Champagne Salon was founded by Eugène Aimé Salon in the early 20th century. Salon was convinced that the Chardonnay grapes from the Le Mesnil-sur-Oger vineyards could produce wine with favourable levels of finesse and elegance without the need to add Pinot noir or Pinot Meunier. Around the turn of the 20th century, Salon began producing a Chardonnay-only cuvée that he shared privately with friends. The first commercial vintage of Champagne Salon was in 1921 and by 2006, the house has released only 37 vintages under the Salon label.
- Upper Levels
Salon is made from 100% Chardonnay. Its grapes are harvested from various growers in the commune Le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte des Blancs sub region of Champagne and from a proprietary vineyard known as Jardin de Salon. While the village-wide terms used for classification in the Champagne region don't carry the same meaning as in Burgundy, Chablis or Alsace, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger is a Grand cru-rated vineyard area, which is the highest of three levels.
- All about the Process
Their wines are fermented in stainless steel and allowed to age in the bottle for around ten years before release. Salon vintages are typically first released after 10+ years. Like many Champagne producers, Salon will not release an entire vintage at the same time but will hold back a certain amount to spend more time aging on the lees.