1996 Salon "Le Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne

SKU #1023015 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1996 Salon is yet another wine that is maturing splendidly. Once focused to the point of being painfully austere and angular, today the 1996 Salon has begun to soften and fill out. My latest bottles have been rich, generous and totally compelling in every way. (AG)  (11/2010)

97 points Vinous

 The vibrancy and drive of the vintage came through in spades in the 1996 Salon, which was flat-out stunning. The 1996 remains a youngster, but is immensely beautiful, even at this stage. Several recent bottles have been just as stunning.  (2/2012)

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 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Green-tinged gold. Incredibly complex, intense bouquet of smoky, leesy orange, pear, licorice, minerals and bitter quinine. The superconcentrated citrus, quince and pear liqueur flavors convey an almost painful impression of extract and positively explode across the palate. Elegant, poised and precise in a manner rare for a wine with such flavor intensity. The vibrant, minerally, extremely long finish simply doesn't let up. This should age effortlessly for a decade or two.  (12/2006)

95 points Wine Spectator

 A deep, vinous style, with understated power and grace. The lemon verbena, toast and honey aromas and flavors are propelled by the well-integrated structure and fine bubbles. There's just a hint of greenness, marking its youthful impetuosity. Has great length. Best from 2010 through 2030.  (12/2007)

93 points Wine & Spirits

 Salon is intended for long aging. In 1996, the power of the vintage adds a few years to the wine's longevity, while making it nearly unapproachable on release. What's apparent is the potent flavor of ripe fruit, as succulent as nectarine, as tangy as lime zest. Then the acidity emerges, piercing every baroque layer of flavor, needing a decade or more to relent. It should begin to reach maturity 25 years from the vintage.  (12/2006)

Jancis Robinson

 Delicious! Not at all skinny or austere - quite evolved, deep, beautifully balanced and engaging. Long and satisfying. 19/20 points.  (11/2010)

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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.