1997 Salon "Le Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)