2004 Salon Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
2004 Salon weaves together immense complexity with stunning purity and makes instant impact on the nose with fresh-baked pastry and brioche, chalky minerals, fresh white mushroom, cucumber, lemon curd and striking lemon and lime citrus fruits. The palate has an almost smoky mineral thread, toasty autolytic flavors build and expand through the mid-palate, opening to grapefruit and ripe white peach flavours, lemon sorbet and very lightly grilled hazelnuts to close. This is an impressively layered Blanc de Blancs in which bright acidity supports the flavorsome, concentrated and fleshy texture in seamless balance. A great Salon, very composed and complex in every respect, a classically styled vintage in which this legendary Champagne has excelled. It will be a fascinatingly complex Champagne with further age. Drink now and for 10+ years.
*Best of 2016, Cellar Selection* Salon's releases are rare and signify a great vintage—the last release was the 2002. Coming from grand cru vineyards in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, this 2004 is complex and concentrated, capturing the essence of Chardonnay in Champagne. Intense minerality and ripe apple and citrus fruits accompany the purity and crisp texture that are part of its ability to age. The wine can continue for many years, certainly to 2025 and beyond. (RV)
The 2004 Salon has been superb each time I have tasted it over the last year or so. Bright, tense and crystalline, with all of the energy that is typical of both Salon and the vintage in the Côte des Blancs, the 2004 bristles with superb precision and cool, pulsating minerality. The 2004 spent a dozen years on its lees. Over the last six months or so, it has gradually begun to open up, but it is very much a wine for the cellar. Two thousand four is remembered as a vintage with record high yields. Salon (and Delamotte) did a terrific job in keeping the vines well balanced. Production was just 46,000 bottles, as opposed to the 60,000 or so that is more typical. Chef de Caves Michel Fauconnet opted for a low dosage of just 4 grams per liter. This is a tremendous showing. 97+ (AG)
Wine & Spirits
Salon is Chardonnay from 20 parcels in Le Mesnil, all the original blocks chosen by Aîmé Salon with his first vintage in 1905. This latest vintage is quiet at first, its sophisticated layering of flavors opening over the course of several days. With air, this tastes like a Puligny with bubbles, its vinous character portrayed in scents of white flowers, chamomile, peaches, kumquats and lemongrass, all of that intensity of flavor shepherded by the chalky direction of limestone acidity. Decant it if you open the wine now; this is structured to age for decades.
*Collectibles* This elegant Champagne features ripe, up-front aromas and flavors of dried apricot, crystallized honey and candied kumquat, giving way on the creamy palate to more subtle notes of raw almond, fleur de sel and star anise. Mouthwatering, with a chalky underpinning and a lovely, satiny finish. Drink now through 2026. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. (AN)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Salon 2004 Blanc de Blancs Brut Le Mesnil follows the famous 2002, and although it comes from a very complicated vintage, it is of excellent quality. It comes from 20 parcels on ten hectares in the Grand Cru. Disgorged in April 2015, the wine shows a great purity and chalky intensity, with white mushrooms and lemon flavors. There is a great finesse and elegance on the palate, which shows a great purity, tension and minerality. This is a pretty young and persistent Blanc de Blancs with a youthful grip and tension. Great purity and freshness. 93+ (SR)
Very refined light lemony nose with a slightly dusty character, almost like sherbet but not sweet. Biscuity note softens the really crisp and elegant lemon flavour. Tiny bubbles, and smoothed by the creamy lees texture. Very youthful and so tight. So light on its feet but incredibly long. 18/20 points (JH)