Champagne Salon: The 43 Vintages from 1905-2012

Eugène-Aimé Salon first made a Blanc de Blancs in 1905 and there have so far been 43 vintages of Salon produced in total





Eugène-Aimé Salon pioneered the production of single-variety Champagne, using just Chardonnay grapes to make his inimitable wine





Salon is always made from Chardonnay grapes grown in the one hectare plot at the back of the Maison, “The Salon Garden” and 19 other small plots around the village of Mesnil-sur-Oger





Bottles of Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs 2012 will be available in late January 2022, with magnums to follow later in the year





The 2012 vintage is the 43rd Salon to be released from this tiny house in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger





Didier Depond calls 2008 ‘the dream vintage’ and just 8,000 magnums were produced (no bottles were made)





Salon 2008 is only available to purchase as part of the Salon Le Mesnil Oenotheque Case





A bottle of Salon 2006, served alongside lunch at the house in Le Mesnil





President of Salon, Didier Depond has been with the house since 1997





Heading down into the Salon cellars in Le Mesnil…





The cellars in Le Mesnil sur-Oger, where old vintages are stored and new vintages are aged prior to release





Salon vintages are typically aged on the less for 10 years before release









1997, the year in which Didier Depond joined the house of Salon





Salon is a story of the singular. One champagne of one variety from one vintage sourced from one region (Côte des Blancs) and one village (Le Mesnil-sur-Oger)





Older vintages of Salon are stored deep down in the cellars under prime conditions





Salon was originally created for the personal consumption of Eugène-Aimé Salon





The vins clairs are tasted each March to decide first whether a vintage will be made and then to decide which wines will be used in the final blend





1983 marked the 30th vintage of Salon and followed the spectacular 1982; a rarity for two consecutive vintages of Salon to be produced





The village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger has a truly excellent terroir; 100% of its vineyards are ranked as Grand Cru





Salon 1971, exceptional quality from a year in which adverse weather conditions destroyed over 4,000 hectares of vineyards





The last few remaining bottles of Salon 1964





Riddling is performed by hand at Salon, part of their high attention to detail style of winemaking





1997, a tough year for the region as a whole but an exceptional year for Chardonnay – and one in which Salon excelled





The Salon Garden, a one hectare plot of Chardonnay vines located to the rear of the house in Le Mesnil





Salon 2004 has been described by the house as “the tranquil power of a dormant volcano”





Recent vintages of Salon held in the riddling racks in the cellars in Le Mesnil





The most recent vintage, 2012, was not originally intended for release… until Didier Depond and chef de cave Michel Fauconnet tasted the wines and realised the power of this vintage





Didier Depond admiring the Chardonnay grapes in the “The Salon Garden”





The entrance to the house of Salon, located in the village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger

Salon is a story of the singular. One champagne of one variety from one vintage sourced from one region (Côte des Blancs) and one village (Le Mesnil-sur-Oger): there is only one Salon. Founded in 1911, Champagne Salon is also the creation of just one man, Eugène-Aimé Salon.

Eugène-Aimé Salon was born on 7th October 1867 in Pocancy, a village at the foot of the Côte des Blancs in Champagne. Having little interest in the family farm, Eugène-Aimé Salon opted to try his luck in commerce, moving to Paris. Young and enthusiastic, he managed to secure a position with the furrier Chapal in Montreuil. He worked hard and stepped up, assuming more and more responsibility, taking charge of the company’s development strategy, leading to its expansion and great success. As the new century dawned, he was one of the key figures of Paris’ glittering social circuit.

He also had a dream. He dreamt of a champagne of incomparable finesse, a unique wine for him alone; a champagne that would stand apart.

His ties to Champagne had remained strong through the years, and he had the perfect advisor in his brother-in-law, a cellar master. He realised he must buy some land, and set to work. He compared the respective merits of vineyards in Cramant, Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, finding the grapes from Le Mesnil best suited to produce wines with the greatest ageing potential. He chose the Côte des Blancs to be his terroir, the best cru, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and the best plots in the terroir, those located above the church, where the balance between sugar content and acidity is perfect. His vision became clear: he would make an unblended champagne for his own personal consumption.

In 1905, he created the Blanc de Blancs, as he called it. His many friends were delighted with it and, once some years had passed since the tragic events of World War I, encouraged him to make more of it for their own enjoyment. Thus, the house of Champagne Salon was founded in 1920 for this enthusiastic clientele.

From then on, Champagne Salon was a feature in all the most popular places. Maxim’s made it the house champagne in the Roaring Twenties. Eugène-Aimé Salon was always welcome there, mingling in diverse political circles, defending his convictions about Europe and was a member of the well-known ‘Club des Cents’ (an exclusive gourmet society). Everybody wanted to drink his champagne. Salon was ground-breaking for the time, given it was a wine produced from the Chardonnay grape variety alone. No Champagne brand had marketed a single-variety wine before World War I, making Eugène-Aimé Salon the pioneer of the Blanc de Blancs style.

Since the 1928 vintage, one that earned Salon the unanimous recognition of connoisseurs, Eugène-Aimé’s uncompromising standards have prevailed. The wine is made in exceptional vintages only, volumes are limited, and winemaking processes remain unchanged. In his lifetime and still today, long after his death in 1943, the image of Eugène-Aimé Salon remains that of a pioneer and visionary, a man of ideas, free and creative. His champagne is the legacy of this ongoing quest for beauty, a symbol of generosity and of the enduring human desire to share with others our most sublime creation.

Purchased by Laurent-Perrier in 1989, Salon share a Cellar Master and vineyard with next-door neighbour and sister company, Champagne Delamotte. Today, Salon is made from Chardonnay grapes grown in a one hectare plot at the back of the Maison, “The Salon Garden” and 19 other plots on the deep chalk soils of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. With a maximum annual production of 60,000 bottles and just ten employees (six in the cellar and four in the office), attention to detail is the key to Salon’s prowess. Produced on average only three times per decade, the latest release – Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 2012 vintage – is just the 43rd Salon to be released from this tiny house in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. All of the vintages produced in the history of this famous house are listed below.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 2012
The 43rd Salon. In 2014, Salon’s president Didier Depond said that a 2012 from Salon would not be released. However, upon producing a champagne that was instantly both rewarding and generous, Depond changed his mind and with good reason too: the critics have already claimed that 2012, after the 2008, may well be the finest Salon produced this millennium.

Weather: Initially mild-mannered, winter 2012 unleashed its full force in February, with freezing temperatures of minus 10, even minus 20C. Then March came in like a lamb. Tender buds were beginning to emerge, only for April to bring heavy rains with clear, and therefore glacial, nights. A cold snap during flowering did not help matters and then more rain, right up until July. August arrived at last, the hottest month in the calendar, but the first few days were rather too hot: a heatwave! The vines really had been through it all: too wet, then too dry, a scarcity of grapes; what would the harvest bring? It began in Le Mesnil on 17th September.

98+/100  William Kelley |  Sep 2021
“Back in 2014, Salon’s president Didier Depond was quoted in the press as saying that “since 2008, there has been no genuinely great vintage in Champagne” and that a 2012 from Salon wouldn’t be released. But the just-released 2012 Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil shows that he had good reason to change his mind, as to my palate this is, after the 2008, the finest Salon produced this millennium. Unwinding in the glass with notes of citrus oil, wet stones, freshly baked bread, white currants and oyster shell, it’s full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with a tightly wound core of fruit, racy acids and an elegant pinpoint mousse. Concluding with a long and resonant finish, this is a structured and powerful Salon that’s a lot more incisive than, for example, the 2002 at the same stage, but which also carries more muscle and substance than a leaner vintage such as 2007. For readers that have balked at the pricing of the magnum-only 2008, the 2012 isn’t far off the latter’s level in quality, and will presumably be distributed more conventionally.”
97/100  Antonio Galloni |  Nov 2021
“The 2012 Salon is absolutely gorgeous. It offers a beguiling mix of radiance and energy that seems to capture a little bit of elements of some of its older siblings. The expression of fruit is radiant and quite overt, but without reaching the tropical exuberance of the 2006. In shape, the 2012 recalls the mid-weight style of 2007 with the freshness of 2008, but not quite the youthful austerity of that wine. If that sounds like an appealing combination, well it is. The 2012 Salon is all harmony and class.”
93→95/100  Essi Avellan MW |  July 2021
“Pinot Noir was the king of this climatically challenging vintage. Thus early on Salon wasn’t promising us a vintage. However, they changed their mind having come up with something instantly rewarding and generous. Bright, sweetly fruity nose on the tropical side with lemon, jasmine and orange blossom. The palate has volume yet a firm backbone of brisk acidity. The chalky mineral notions come forward on the long, intense and dry finish.”
Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 2008
The 42nd Salon. Tasting the vins clairs in early 2009, Président Didier Depond and Chef de Cave Michel Fauconnet were immediately struck by their profile, comparable in stature to the legendary Salon 1982, Salon 1966 and Salon 1928. They decided almost instantly to bottle the entire production in magnums, the ideal format to confer the slow, delicate élevage appropriate to the vintage, and their absolute commitment to quality. This would result in just 8,000 magnums being produced and only available to purchase as part of the Champagne Salon Le Mesnil Oenotheque Case.

Weather: After a mild winter, rainy spring and a positively glacial start to June, flowering was understandably reticent. But the vine is hardy and the skies proved favourable to the growers. June settled into its usual summer spirit and the fruit set looked promising: high quality grapes, even if the crop would be small. Superb conditions in August saw the harvest date confirmed, only for a dull early September to trigger last-minute angst. The chardonnays took their time, but prospered nonetheless, gaining in power right up until 17th September, when Salon’s parcels in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger were finally harvested.

19/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  June 2019
“Magnum. Disgorged (‘Edition’) January 2019. Just 8,000 magnums and no bottles produced. (Usually 60,000 bottles!) Didier Depond tasted the grapes with Chef de Cave Michel Fauconnet. Both of them decided that only magnums should be made because the concentration is so great. Like 1982. Dosage 6.2 g/l. Didier Depond calls 2008 ‘the dream vintage’. Picked from 17 September.
Big bubbles. Strong hedgerow aromas. Very ‘cool’ impression. Very intense and persistent. Complex and lacy. Filigree texture. Really quite open for a magnum – particularly for Salon. Wonderful length. Certainly a magical wine, likely to feed a frenzy among (well-heeled) investors.”
100/100  Antonio Galloni |  July 2019
“The 2008 Salon is simply extraordinary. Sadly, there will only be 8,000 magnums for the world, as President Didier Depond took the unusual and dramatic decision to bottle the entire 2008 harvest in magnum only, which is a huge decrease over the typical production (when Salon is made) of closer to 60,000 bottles. In the glass, the 2008 is simply extraordinary. Soft and silky, with breathtaking finesse, the 2008 dazzles with a stunning interplay of bright Chardonnay fruit, soaring perfume and crystalline precision. A kaleidoscope of aromas, flavors and textures captivates all the senses. The 2008 remains young and austere, but like so many wines in this great vintage, Salon has an extra dimension of textural depth that keeps it from being austere. It is quite simply one of the most magnificent Champagnes I have ever tasted. The 8,000 magnums will be sold in a special wooden case with 2 bottles each of 2007, 2006 and 2002. Dosage is 6 grams per liter. Disgorged: January, 2019.”
100/100  William Kelley |  Mar 2021
“Disgorged in January 2019 with six grams per liter dosage, Salon’s 2008 Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil is a striking wine, unwinding in the glass with scents of citrus oil, fresh bread, crisp green apple, white flowers, smoke and oyster shell. Full-bodied, layered and incisive, it’s deep and concentrated, with a tightly coiled core of fruit that’s underpinned by a racy spine of acidity. Seamless and unerringly precise, it concludes with a long and penetratingly mineral finish. Immense though its potential for aging is, its intensity and balance make it pleasurable as well as persuasive, even today. Given the eye-watering price of this magnum-only release, I was determined to hold the wine to the highest possible standards, but it surpasses even the prodigious 1996 and surely ranks as the finest Salon since at least the 1970s. In short, this is a Blanc de Blancs that admits no argument.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 2007
The 41st Salon. After a mild winter, April was magnificent, and flowering was perfect. June and July brought long days of bright sunshine, the light reverberating on the chalky soil and providing vital residual warmth for the subsequent chilly August. With nature still on-side, the sensible decision would have been to harvest then and there, but then second thoughts….patience! Out came the sun, that great game-changer, charging everything with light and energy. As an uncertain season reached full term, the vines yielded a crop of perfectly ripe grapes, and in decent quantities too. The resulting musts were rich yet not excessive in sugar, with fine acidity to balance. Now for time to work its magic.
18/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  June 2019
“Disgorged January (‘Edition’) 2019. Dosage 5 g/l. (First release was disgorged 2017.) Didier Depond: ‘this vintage was pure light’. Picked from 30 August.
Transparency with a really round undertow. No longer the piercing quality of Le Mesnil but something much more accommodating. Tight bead and intricate crochet work but with lift and great freshness.”
97/100  Antonio Galloni |  July 2019
“The 2007 Salon (Edition 2019) is just starting to show the first signs of aromatic development and nuance, as well as a touch more body than it did upon release. Rich, creamy and ample, with stunning textural richness and freshness, the 2007 is incredibly expressive today, certainly much more so than it was upon release. The 2007 is a dark horse Salon that keeps getting better with time. This is a fabulous showing. Dosage is 6 grams per liter. Disgorged: January, 2019.”
96/100  William Kelley |  Mar 2021
“The 2007 Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil is showing very well, unwinding in the glass with scents of citrus pith, smoke, crisp green apple, Anjou pear, white flowers and subtle hints of fresh herbs. Medium to full-bodied, pillowy and incisive, it’s fine-boned and precise, with a bright spine of acidity, an elegantly fleshy core of fruit and a pretty, pinpoint mousse. Like the other vintages of Salon reviewed here, this bottle was disgorged in January 2019.”
95→97/100  Essi Avellan MW |  Sep 2020
“I love how pure, vibrant and appetisingly open the wine is for a young Salon. Lovely sweet lemony tones and exotic floral complexity. The fruit is super bright also on the beautifully textured though tight and succulent palate. It comes with crisp but such balanced acidity seamlessly integrated to the wine’s rich fruitiness. The finish is mineral but feels suitably sweet with its low, 6g/l dosage. A great, approachable and instantly charming Salon.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 2006
The 40th Salon. August was horrid, cold and rainy, after the perfect sunshine and warmth of June and July. But in the end it was all a false alert, the fear came to nothing, no disease problems. September arrived and set fair, with cool mornings and glorious days that continued throughout harvest, up to 2nd October: the grapes reached optimum ripeness, giving musts with magnificent sugar levels balanced by fine acidities, a hallmark of the vintage. Yields? Neither too big nor too small. The result: Salon 2006, a great vintage with a tremendous future ahead.
18/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  June 2019
“Disgorged (Edition) 2019. Didier Depond: ‘the romantic vintage’. Picked from 14 September.
Pungent and racy. Very transparent and almost soft, perhaps because the wine was opened two hours earlier then re-stoppered. Fine and round. Very friendly. Floral and fine. Very long. Like the delicate brush of a feather against the cheek.”
97/100  Antonio Galloni |  July 2017
“The 2006 Salon is a very rich wine, almost uncharacteristically so. Deep and exotic the 2006 exudes richness in all of its dimensions, with myriad inflections of sumptuous fruit that fill out its ample, large-scaled frame. Today, the 2006 is surprisingly accessible for a young Salon, but it needs time to shed some baby fat. At times, the 2006 recalls the 2002, but it appears to have more phenolic intensity and overall structure. Even with all of its flamboyance and pure volume, the 2006 retains quite a bit of energy and freshness. I imagine it will be a fascinating, utterly compelling Champagne to follow over the next several decades.”
95/100  William Kelley |  Mar 2021
“The 2006 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut is quite tangy and reserved by the standards of this sunny, demonstrative vintage. Offering up aromas of smoke, toasted bread, orange oil, mocha and confit lemon, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, with racy acids and a concentrated, surprisingly structured mid-palate. Concluding with a long and gently empyreumatic finish, this is a fine success. This bottle was disgorged in January 2019.”
93→95/100  Essi Avellan MW |  Sep 2018
“Open, softly and sweetly fruity nose with aromatics ranging from tropical fruits to lemon curd and exotic floral spiciness. On the palate it is unusually round and fleshy for a young Salon, softer in its acidity and rather vinous. It does not need any more than its low 5,5 g/l dosage. Ample and rich Salon, clearly a product of a sunny and warm year.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 2004
The 39th Salon. The 2004 growing season got off to a slow start in Champagne, even in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, the legendary terroir of the Côte des Blancs, with its unrivalled balance between sugar and acidity. Despite this, the crop looked so abundant, that the decision was taken in July to perform a ‘green harvest’ (thin the crop) to ensure optimal fruit concentration. Cool, rainy conditions during August saw the grapes struggle to ripen. Finally however, on the 2nd September and up until autumnal conditions arrived on 23rd and harvest began, the weather set fair. Glorious sunshine brought the crop – plentiful yet carefully contained – safely and surely to a level of ripeness that was simply inconceivable, together with extraordinary acidity. This was an extraordinary show of power from deep inside the vines, an explosion of quality that had had been building quietly for an entire year, deep within the earth, in the vines themselves, the product of the soil, the wind, the rain, the sun, until finally, surpassing all our hopes, this champagne surged forth: like a serene volcano, it simmered quietly before unleashing its true nature, as if by surprise, with the Salon 2004 vintage.
18.5/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  June 2019
“Disgorged (Edition) 2019. Didier Depond: ‘It’s best to start drinking Salon at 15 years old’.
Very direct, intense nose. Super-pure, straight up the nose and a rather drier, less juicy impression than the 2006 or 2007. Racy and pure. Punchy with an explosive finish.”
97+/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
“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.”
96/100  William Kelley |  Mar 2021
The 2004 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut is another rather structured, tensile wine from a generally rather open vintage. Wafting from the glass are scents of citrus rind, crisp green apple, preserved citrus, fresh bread and smoke. Medium to full-bodied, tangy and chiseled, with fine depth at the core and a long, chalky finish, it’s complemented by a pillowy pinpoint mousse. Unlike many wines from 2004, this Salon (tasted from a bottle disgorged in January 2019) still has potential to improve with further bottle age.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 2002
The 38th Salon. What a year 2002 turned out to be ! In Champagne, particularly in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, weather conditions were notably unsettled, swinging between cool and warm, rain and dry : but no harsh frosts, no devastating downpours, and almost no hail. As a result the vines could not have been healthier. Pollen measurements at flowering indicated an abundant harvest – possibly too abundant – with bunches gaining weight fast. Would quality be up to scratch? While cautious growers thinned the crop, the issue resolved itself naturally as summer progressed, beautiful warm days concentrating the fruit and restoring perfect balance. The harvest began in mid-September, the 16th in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, in a cool snap with bright blue skies. The chardonnay grapes, harvested at just the right yields, turned out to be rich and powerful, every grape a reflection of its conditions. Add to this the human element – supreme effort, artistry, love – and the result is a wine of refinement, precision, balance; glinting, captivating like a samurai sword. For the image of battle could not be more apposite given the audacity and power, serene tension and self-assurance present in this 2002 vintage, here for us now to savour. Not just the soul of Salon, but its triumph.
19.5/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  June 2019
“Bottle. Disgorged 2014. Dosage 5.5 g/l. Original release was in 2012. Still commercially available in small quantities.
Intense and decongestant effect. Then so rich and nuanced on the palate. There’s a delicacy here too! Starting tertiary notes underneath, with some hay and then real grip on the end. Very long with a fascinating narrative. So many layers of delicacy!”
97/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
Another highlight in this vertical, the 2002 Salon is also fascinating to taste after the 2004. Rich, opulent and intense, yet also very classic in the Salon house style, the 2002 possesses superb persistence and depth. The radiant vintage has softened the contours and given the wine fabulous depth to match its decidedly powerful personality. At the same time, the 2002 remains quite youthful. Next to the brighter and more finessed 2004, the 2002 offers more of a baritone-inflected expression of Chardonnay.”
95/100  William Kelley |  Apr 2019
I sacrificed a bottle of the 2002 Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil from my own cellar to fill this gap in The Wine Advocate database and was interested to see that the wine has evolved a little since I last encountered it a couple of years ago. Subtle aromas of brioche, iodine and walnuts now inflect its bouquet of ripe lemon, green apple and crushed chalk, and on the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and powerful, with a fine mousse and considerable depth and dimension, concluding with a delicately chalky finish. This is an unusually ripe, muscular vintage of Salon, and my own palate tends to favor the brighter, more incisive vintages such as the 2007 or the 1996 at its best, but this is nonetheless a superb blanc de blancs that’s maturing a touch faster than I expected.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1999
The 37th Salon. The most abundant grape harvest in the history of Champagne! One of the warmest years of the century! But, on the heels of a fairly mild winter and a warm early spring came a series of hailstorms. The weather settled and the Chardonnay grape flowers bloomed on 11 June – magnificent. Rain in early July and a surprise month of August: a cold spell and an eclipse of the moon on the 11th. The harvest promised to be splendid, started well but ended with rain. Production, which was already significant, increased further. However, some winegrowers were able to reduce the weight of the vines at the right time: as a result, the wines gained in alcohol content (an average of 10%) with a low level of acidity of 6.3% due to the heat of the summer and rain during picking. Powerful, profound, lively and complex wines.
17.5/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  Oct 2013
“Current vintage. 2002 expected next April. Greenish tinge. Dense and vibrant on the nose. Very lifted and flirtatious though I’m not 100% certain I would put the correct price on it blind. Racy, wild flowers. A distinctive champagne.”
94/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
The 1999 belongs to the family of warm, ripe vintage at Salon. An atypically big, dense wine by Salon standards, the 1999 is somewhat one-dimensional and not likely to improve considerably from here. At the same time, the 1999 has more than enough depth to drink well for a number of years. All things considered, the 1999 has held up well. Didier Depond, the house’s President, describes 1999 as a year with very hot, sunny weather during the summer and into the harvest. Late season rains were an issue for the Pinot, but not for the Chardonnay.”
95/100  David Schildknecht |  Nov 2013
The Salon 1999 Brut Le Mesnil – disgorged already in 2011 and dosed with a pretty typical six grams of residual sugar – displays faintly fusil and quarry dust notes as well as hickory nut, almond, walnut and toasted wheat piquancy on the nose. Polished and subtly creamy in texture yet brightly juicy with apple and lemon, this displays an uncanny sense of lift and refinement, perfectly complementing the honeysuckle and heliotrope perfume that waft inner-mouth. You could lose yourself in the ineffability of this wine’s floral diversity and in its resonantly nut and grain low tones. Hints of apple pip lend subtle additional piquancy on a long and at once soothing as well as stimulating finish, with suggestions of oyster liquor becoming prominent as the bottle stands open for a few minutes, and serving to milk the salivary glands for all that they are worth. Follow this for at least a decade.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1997
The 36th Salon. Throughout winter and spring the climate alternated between mild weather and extreme cold. On June 11th, flowering began in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Summer was hot and dry, making for excellent ripening conditions. The harvest commenced on September 22nd; during picking the weather was summery but with cold evening temperatures, which encouraged good acidity.
18/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  June 2019
“Disgorged September 2018. Dosage 3 g/l. Didier Depond arrived just after the vintage in 1997.
Very expressive with attractive and not excessive chewiness. Herbs and flowers and almost like the biodynamic wild-flower effect. Great spread of aromas and quite a tight texture. Real concentration. Easy to love. Still some chew.”
95/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
One of the surprises in this vertical, the 1997 Salon is super-polished, delicate and refined. The 1997 offers lovely detail and nuance throughout. Hints of candied lemon peel, white flowers and white pepper add an element of brightness that complements the wine’s natural richness. Although 1997 doesn’t belong to the group of elite vintages at Salon, it does come close to that level. Perhaps even more importantly, the 1997 is aging gracefully and should continue to drink nicely for a number of years.”
95/100  William Kelley |  Mar 2021
“A wine that just seems to go from strength to strength is Salon’s 1997 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut. The Maison kept back large stocks that they have gradually been disgorging over the last half-dozen years—it’s still a commercial release and well worth seeking out. From a bottle disgorged in 2020, the wine wafts from the glass with scents of honeycomb, white flowers and orange rind, complemented by hints of burnt marmalade and exotic fruit. Medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, it’s notably taut and chiseled for the vintage, with racy acids and a beautifully expressive mid-palate. This is really beginning to drink with real grace, and if it doesn’t hit quite the same heights as the best bottles of 1996 Salon, I have found the 1997 notably more consistent. I suppose it was picked a touch early, given the botrytis pressure in 1997, but time is being very kind to this wine.”
93→95/100  Essi Avellan MW |  Oct 2016
“Rich buttery nose with pastry and vanilla tones and emerging coffee and creamy notes. Quite evolved on the nose already but fresh and generous, almost oily on the palate. Open and embracing with great nutty and peppery complexity at the very finish.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1996
The 35th Salon. Rare are the vintages of Salon Le Mesnil, only 37 have been produced in the past century. Each new vintage has been a peak in the landscape of Champagne. Now Salon Le Mesnil is reaching the summit of the Himalayas with its 1996 vintage. Exploding with aromas and freshness, this new vintage offers breathtaking heights and extraordinary character.
18.5/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  June 2016
Very tight little bead. Mid straw. Very distinctive. Very tightly wound. Introspective. Almost nervous but admirable. A bit like a hugely respected but utterly un-attention-seeking academic. Wonderful texture. Then opens out on the palate. Very firm. Mineral rather than fruit or veg or breadiness.”
99/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2018
The 1996 Salon is just dazzling. It needs a good bit of air to fully open up, but the 1996 Salon is simply a mesmerizing Champagne that sizzles with energy, cut and total precision. A second bottle later in the week was every bit as compelling. When the 1996 Salon is on, it is just about as great as Champagne gets.”
99/100  William Kelley |  Aug 2019
This bottle of the 1996 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut was drinking superbly and represents the apotheosis of Blanc de Blancs, unfurling over the course of three hours with a stunningly complex bouquet of citrus oil, confit lemon, dried white flowers and oyster shell, with hints of praline and pastry cream becoming more pronounced as the wine opens up in the glass. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, defined by the incisive spine so typical of the vintage that, here, is cloaked in layers of crisp fleshy and chalky extract. The finish is long, penetrating and saline. Unfortunately, since the 1996 Salon has been traded so zealously over the last decade, finding a bottle that hasn’t travelled too far can be a challenge. But from a perfectly stored bottle, this is just the beginning.”
94→98/100  Essi Avellan MW |  Oct 2012
“The combination of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger’s raw power, Salon’s inox-fermented non-maloed winemaking and the extremities of the 1996 vintage suggest a masochistic experience. But miraculously the result is one of all times finest Salons (given that you love the sensation of acidity, a prerequisite of any Salon fan). This is truly razor-shard and driven, aging painfully slow for the impatient.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1995
The 34th Salon. The elegance and complexity of the Salon Champagne 1995 vintage takes us to the lofty heights of the sublime.
95/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
“The 1995 Salon, disgorged à la volée and naturally sans dosage, is rich, ample and creamy. In this vertical, the 1995 stands out for its broad, ample frame and tropically-leaning overtones. So often, Salon is a Champagne of tension and focus. Even without dosage, the 1995 is distinctly more ample than is the norm and yet all the elements come together nicely just the same.”
93→95/100  Essi Avellan MW |  May 2015
“Time and again the 1995 gives me positive surprises. Shadowed by the grandeur of the 1996, this one delivers sheer pleasure already today in its mellowed maturity and open, voluptuous nature. Decadently toasty and bready with vanilla and coffee richness perfectly integrated to the smoky, biting mineral finish.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1990
The 33rd Salon. Among those masterpieces that made the 20th century lighter and more beautiful, Champagne Salon punctuated the years with its 33 vintages. 1990, the last one for the moment, arrives with the new century: it is one of the most beautiful and the most charming.
17.5/20  Julia Harding MW |  Apr 2016
“Disgorged 2012 with a dosage of 5-6 g/l.
Starting to look a little more deeply coloured compared with the 1996. Quite a woody smell at first. Broad and yeasty and incredibly rich on the palate, balanced by Seville orange as well as intense citrus. Complex and just gently sparkling. Mouthfilling as well as very long. This is becoming more a wine than a fizz – if I am allowed to referred to Salon as ‘fizz’.”
93+/100  Stephen Tanzer |  Nov 2001
“Rather deep copper color. Aromas of brown butter, toffee and walnut call to mind a dry oloroso sherry. Then large-scaled, rich, smooth and mouthfilling, with impressive concentration and a powerful impression of solidity. Shockingly fresh in the mouth following the mature aromas. In fact, this wine seemed to grow more vibrant as it opened in the glass. Finishes very rich and very long. This superrich vintage produced chardonnay with a tendency toward heaviness, but this wine is undeniably impressive.”
91→91/100  Essi Avellan MW |  Jan 2015
“Deep golden colour shows significant development. The nose is mature as well, bruised apple, honey and spiciness. Layered and sweet but shows some apple jam like over-maturity. Rich voluptuous mouth-feel is wide and dense. Slightly unintegrated is the benchmark acidic spine. Aromatics are more developed whereas the structure still has great potential. Perhaps it is in a challenging phase.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1988
The 32nd Salon. At Salon, only the exceptional years are judged fine enough to produce a Champagne vintage.This only arrives approximately every 2-3 years, and 1988 is the 31st vintage in 76 years. There are rare cases that two great years follow each other as in 1928 and 1929, and 1982 and 1983.
18/20  Julia Harding MW |  Apr 2016
“Disgorged 2010 with 5-6 g/l dosage.
Pale gold. Very hard to describe this aroma. A little honeyed and bready but also with a more oxidative butterscotch quality without the sweetness that suggests. So vibrant on the palate, a little hint of ginger and bitter orange. Fabulous balance between intense and refined purity and then that depth and length, very very long.”
93+/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
“After the lackluster 1990, things get back on track quickly with the 1988 Salon, a wine that is absolutely peaking today. From one of the all-time great vintages in Champagne the 1988 Salon exudes power and explosive intensity, with superb balance and pulsating acidity that gives the wine its drive. A host of candied lemon peel, hazelnut, smoke, licorice and anise overtones meld into the super-expressive finish. Disgorged à la volée, with no dosage.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1985
The 31st Salon. This was a vintage that mystified everyone ! Severe winter frosts had destroyed one in ten of every vine in Champagne. Despite the irregular maturity of the clusters at the end of the summer, superb sunny weather in September and October enabled the grapes to swell and ripen in perfect conditions. The beautiful late season even permitted a rare “ second harvest ” at the end of October. The quality was excellent, producing champagne of remarkable intensity.
18.5/20  Jancis Robinson MW |  June 2013
“Fairly light vaguely brioche nose. Like the Dom 1985, tight, but more to be expected in a Salon. Very long and neat. Marked freshness. Dry finish. Svelte. Scored 17.5 and to drink 2000-2020
A second bottle showed a much more evolved nose. Very much more interesting and nuanced. Hint of porcini dried mushrooms. Long and toasty. The score is for the second bottle.”
95+/100  Stephen Tanzer |  Nov 1999
“Knockout aromas of lemon, lime, toffee, grilled nuts, nutmeg and minerals; conveys a strong impression of soil character. Great thickness and brightness in the mouth; offers a compelling combination of lemon and orange citricity and complex yeast autolysis notes, and near-perfect harmony of young and maturing elements. This outstanding, elegant Champagne shows an extraordinary creamy richness yet is still rather folded in on itself. Has the sheer structure and grip to develop in bottle for a decade or two. Finishes with great nutty length.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1983
The 30th Salon. At Salon, only the exceptional years are judged fine enough to produce a Champagne vintage. This is extremely rare when two great years follow each other such as 1928 and 1929, 1982 and 1983.
98/100  Antonio Galloni |  May 2014
“All is forgotten quickly when the 1983 Salon is poured from magnum. Easily one of the very best Champagnes I have ever tasted, the 1983 has it all. Ageless and timeless, the 1983 is pure magic in the glass. Wonderfully complex, toasty aromatics meld into expressive fruit in a Champagne that is both mature and youthful, much like the great white Burgundies of the same era. I only wish every Vinous reader could experience the sheer visceral thrill of the 1983, a life-affirming, utterly magical wine that leaves the room in awe.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1982
The 29th Salon. Late departure of vegetation, although with extremely favourable weather conditions, the vines developed without a hitch. For all varieties, emergence of very fine clusters. Although the vines had not produced in two years, they gave their very best. Good ripeness of the harvest thanks to superb September sunshine. Harvesting commenced on 17th and 20th September depending on the variety and vineyard. The Chardonnays are well balanced, very fine and elegant.
91/100  Stephen Tanzer |  Nov 1998
“Toffee, earth and white chocolate on the nose, plus a strong suggestion of terroir. Concentrated and very rich, with a deep note of beurre blanc and a strong lemony flavor. The acidity carries the flavors through to a long, slightly sweet/sour finish. Like the ’83, this wine is impressively endowed but comes across as somewhat disjointed.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1979
The 28th Salon. Late bud-burst. Emergence of fine Chardonnay clusters. Rapid flowering of white grapes. Harvesting commenced between 3rd and 8th October, depending on the terroir. The grapes generally all very healthy with alcoholic content exceeding 9° and acidity just below 9°. The 1979 wines are characterised by a very distinct neatness and a particularly striking aromatic power of the Chardonnay.
97/100  Antonio Galloni |  Apr 2008
“The 1979 Salon was unquestionably the showstopper here. It was easily the freshest of these wines, with its signature taut, focused personality in full bloom. This Champagne came across as incredibly youthful and vibrant. It was truly mesmerizing.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1976
The 27th Salon. Bud-burst took place between 6th and 21st April depending on the variety and the precocity of the terroir. The emergence of clusters was considered generous. Flowering, from around 10th-15th June, came early. Summer weather was extremely hot, the soil already exceptionally dry and drought widespread over the vineyards. The speed of the ripening period, from early August, surprised the majority of winegrowers on holiday and forced to make a hasty retreat to prepare for the harvest. Ripening came extremely early, with a mere 84 days between flowering and harvesting. The grapes were perfectly healthy with low acidity. The excellent ripeness and high degree obtained for the musts, their low acidity produced a wine highlighting particular characteristics with an exceptional constitution. Robust, extremely vinous and supple.
19.5/20  Richard Hemming |  Nov 2012
“Magnum – 62 remaining! Disgorged October 2012.
Wow, quite incredible nose. Fantastic, star fruit and mature cheddar. Goes far beyond any champagne experience I can think of. Strong redolence of Hunter Semillon – honey, toast, citrus. Amazing. Slight leaf litter and mushroom notes. Not at all oxidative. Feels like it could age indefinitely.”
95/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2009
“The 1976 Salon combined elements of the taut house style with an extra dimension of fatness from bottle age. The wine was rich and energetic, with tons of length and pretty notes of tar, smoke and licorice that lingered on the finish.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1973
The 26th Salon. Hail on 3rd May caused damage on the heights of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Flowering took place in excellent conditions. A very dry summer despite occasional storms. Harvesting began on 28th September. Good quality.
95/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
“The 1973 Salon is one of the most exotic and flamboyant wines in this tasting. Now at the absolute peak of its maturity, the 1973 graces the senses with hints of orange peel, burnt sugar, butter and smoke. Even with all of its depth and creaminess, the 1973 possesses tons of nuance, not to mention considerable personality. Disgorged à la volée, with no dosage.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1971
The 25th Salon. There was rapid emergence of vegetation, although spring frosts (between 27th and 29th April) affected 1000 hectares. The hailstorm of 27th May alone destroyed 650 hectares. Cold weather took hold in June, with flowering in very bad weather conditions, extending from June through to early July. Exceptional weather in July, but hail and windy weather from 27th July to 18th August completely annihilated 2650 hectares. Major erosion problems. Harvesting commenced on 18th September. Good quality.
19/20  Julia Harding MW |  Apr 2016
“Disgorged 3 weeks ago without dosage – Didier Depond felt there was no need for make-up on this older wine, which had its own internal richness from long lees ageing.
Mid gold. Aroma like the 1988 but even more complex: woody, ginger, dried grasses, chamomile. Stunning wine. Very little fizz left but impeccable balance between all those complex yeast-derived bready flavours and intense zesty vitality on the palate. Just gorgeous and absolutely remarkable poise at the age of 45. My drinking date starts from the time this bottle was disgorged, not from the time bottles disgorged much earlier might have been broached.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1969
The 24th Salon. Frequent violent summer storms, with hail affecting significant areas in a number of vineyards – close to 900 hectares were completely destroyed. Harvesting began in the dry and sunny weather of 1st October and lasted fifteen days. The harvest was healthier than in the two previous years. Very good quality.
94→94/100  Essi Avellan MW |  Dec 2010
“Mature bottles of Salon are getting more and more scarce. For this beautiful individual I traveled to Canada to share the experience with likeminded champagne aficionados a few years back. We were lucky. Powerful but soft and round, deep notes of honey, roasted hazelnuts and sweet toastiness. This time we almost caught the beast at its peak, we were just a little too late!”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1966
The 23rd Salon. Flowering went well. May to August storms caused a total loss of some 200 hectares across Champagne. Harvesting began in very acceptable conditions on 26th September, revealing white grapes in the peak of health. Good quality.
16.5/20  Julia Harding MW |  Apr 2016
“Disgorged 3 weeks ago with zero dosage – none needed after all this time on the lees, according to Didier Depond.
Burnished gold. Strong woody aroma, even a note of mushroom, and the oxidative character – chamomile aromas like a skin-contact white – at first obscured the slight note of cork taint. The second bottle was similar in that oxidative character but definitely cleaner and zestier, with herbs and ginger and then deeply yeasty on the palate. Almost no fizz but the acidity keeps it alive and kicking. Remarkable longevity and intensely pure citrus effect even though the flavours are not primarily citrus any more. The second bottle also had a little more fizz and has a tighter shape on the palate but also a sort of lapsang smokiness. Really more of a relic but a venerable one at the age of 50.”
93→94/100  Essi Avellan MW |  Sep 2011
“Mature bottles of Salon are geting more and more scarce. For this beautiful individual I traveled to Canada to share the experience with likeminded champagne aficionados a few years back. We were lucky. Powerful but soft and round, deep notes of honey, roasted hazelnuts and sweet toastiness. This time we just about caught the beast at its peak!”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1964
The 22nd Salon. Flowering, speedily reaching full bloom stage, then delayed by the cold, ended well. Harvesting began on 16th September in rain which continued for 48 hours, followed by hot and sunny weather. The temperature rose as picking advanced with no notable drop in acidity. Excellent quality.
86/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
“The 1964 Salon, also served blind, is frankly past the point where I find pleasure in wine. The hazelnut, orange peel, tobacco, honey, caramel, spice and mushroom notes are fully tertiary.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1961
The 21st Salon. Flowering languid at the start, very rapid from full bloom stage to completion. Harvesting commenced on 20th September in excellent conditions, revealing a good health status. Fine quality.
96/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
“What a pleasure it is to taste the 1961 Salon. Timeless, elegant and super polished, the 1961 has aged exceptionally well. The candied lemon, white flower and almond nuances offer lovely freshness, especially for a wine of this age. Today, the 1961 is sublime. I don’t know that there is too much more I can add, except to say this is about as good as it gets for mature Champagne. Disgorged à la volée, with no dosage.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1959
The 20th Salon. Although flowering got off to a slow start, the rhythm intensified followed by rapid fruit setting. Harvesting started on 10th September, revealing excellent ripeness, helped by exceptional climatic conditions throughout the summer. Very good quality.
88/100  Antonio Galloni |  June 2016
“The 1959 Salon is the first of two wines served blind towards the end of this vertical. Although the 1959 retains considerable power for a wine of its age, it is also past peak. Hints of orange peel, butter, spice and brown butter give the 1959 its oxidative, fully mature personality. The 1959 is not my cup of tea, but readers who like very aged Champagne might find some pleasure in the 1959, a wine that is hanging on to the very final vestiges of life at this stage.”


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1956
The 19th Salon. Winter frosts caused particularly severe damage to the vines in several areas. Starting on the 8th October, the harvest was quickly and efficiently completed despite serious sorting. Medium quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1955
The 18th Salon. Frosts in May over all Champagne affected 1500 hectares in the Marne, whereof 400 to 500 were completely destroyed. Flowering got off to a slow start, before picking up speed and completing in a few days. Fruit set of rare perfection. Underway in the majority of communes at the beginning of October, the harvest revealed an excellent health status. Good quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1953
The 17th Salon. Frost in May affecting large areas, but not with such severity. Although flowering got off to a good start, but later proved slower than expected. Particularly healthy harvest, beginning on 15th September under clement skies. Due to heavy rainfall a few days before harvesting, the grapes suddenly filled out considerably. Very good quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1951
The 16th Salon. Catastrophic frosts affecting three-quarters of the vineyards and reducing total potential by at least 70%. Very early bud break. Blossoming in most regions with re-emergence deemed consistent over the various vine varieties after the frost. Cold snap disrupting flowering throughout. Late harvest (1st October) in good, dry but chilly weather. Healthy clusters. Medium quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1949
The 15th Salon. Flowering was spread out over three weeks due to cold weather. Harvesting started on 19th September and was finished rapidly. Sudden development of rot during picking, with limited losses.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1948
The 14th Salon. Hailfall in May, July and August. Flowering unfavourably influenced by atmospheric elements. Attack of grey rot at the end of August and the beginning of September, but clearing with the return of good weather. Appearing healthy, the harvest (from 20th September) nonetheless showed the effects of botrytis.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1947
The 13th Salon. Very rapid flowering, complete on 10th June. The harvest commencing 5th September was the earliest since 1893 and perfect in all respects. Good quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1946
The 12th Salon. Early bud-burst and exceptional emergence. Slow and irregular flowering. The weather improved a few days before harvesting at the end of September. Relatively satisfactory harvest. Medium quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1943
The 11th Salon. Flowering in low temperatures with frequent showers. Harvesting from 15th September of excellent healthy grapes. Exceptional quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1942
The 10th Salon. Frosts on 4th and 5th May mainly causing damage in the Marne valley. Flowering took place in the best conditions. Good quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1937
The 9th Salon. Very speedy harvest. Harvesting was carried out on 21st September in warm and dry weather, although laborious due to rigorous sorting. Good quality overall.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1934
The 8th Salon. Damage from May frosts, but only about 6% of potential crop. Rapid flowering progressed well. Insignificant damage from disease and insects.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1928
The 7th Salon. Frosts in May, the Côte des Blancs sustaining the worst of it. Some hailfall hit diverse vineyards, resulting in some losses. Flowering more or less normal, although somewhat extended. Harvesting started off on a sun-filled 28th September, although ending on a rainy note. Healthy harvest of exceptional quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1925
The 6th Salon. Hailfall on the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims, with notable losses. Flowering disrupted by often cold nights. Harvesting lasting over a month. Quality judged rather good.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1921
The 5th Salon. Catastrophic black frosts on 15th/16th April, with the thermometer dropping to -7°C the first night with an occasional -9°C the following day, while temperatures varied between 24°C and 28°C from 11th to 14th April. Estimated losses comparable to 1873 – about 80% of the crop. However conditions more favourable to the development of the vine during the campaign. Perfect flowering. Harvesting went very quickly. Exceptional quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1914
The 4th Salon. Protracted flowering. Powerful mildew attack in early July but without noticeable damage. The harvest started on 28th September and took place under the best possible conditions. Excellent quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1911
The 3rd Salon. Early flowering held up to its promises. Summer drought with harvesting from 10th to 12th September in splendid weather conditions. Perfect ripeness. Exceptional quality.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1909
The 2nd Salon. Heavy winter frosts, returning early spring until mid-May. Early and satisfactory flowering. Harvesting started on 26th September, mostly in the rain.


Champagne Salon Blanc de Blancs 1905
The 1st Salon. There were several bouts of frost in May. A number of hailstorms in June and July wreaked havoc. Satisfactory flowering. The harvest began in the last ten days of September.