1997 Salon "Le Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne

SKU #1040641 96 points Wine & Spirits

 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.  (12/ 2010)

96 points Wine Enthusiast

 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.  (12/ 2008)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 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 Anticipated maturity: 2012-2027.  (12/ 2008)

91 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (12/ 2010)

K&L Notes

Salon is one of the great names in Champagne for a very good reason. It is made only in great vintages (the decade of the eighties only produced '82,'83,'85 and '88) and only from grapes from one village, the Grand Cru of Mesnil. This village grows the most sought after Chardonnay in Champagne. Half of the vineyards that make the wine are owned by Salon outright, and the other half come from farmers that Salon has been working with for generations. The vines average 40 years of age. Salon suppresses malolactic fermentation for maximum freshness and longevity - an iconoclastic move for a Cote de Blanc producer. The production hovers around 8,000 six-bottle cases, so the wine is always hard to come by but very worth seeking out! (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)

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Price: $299.99

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Champagne

- The French region of Champagne (comprised of the towns of Rheims, Epernay, and Ay) was the first region in the world to make sparkling wine in any quantity. Today, the name of the region is synonymous with the finest of all sparkling wines, and winemaking traditions of Champagne have become role models for sparkling wine producers, worldwide. Surprisingly, the region of Champagne is now responsible for only one bottle in 12 of all sparkling wine produced. Styles of champagne range from the basic brut (often blends of several vintages), single vintage champagnes, and rose. View our bestselling Champagne.