1996 Salon "Le Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Delicious! Not at all skinny or austere - quite evolved, deep, beautifully balanced and engaging. Long and satisfying. 19/20 points.