Salon 2008 is a unique champagne. Defined by its singularity since the very beginning of the history of the brand Salon, this exceptional wine is the champagne of a single terroir: the Côte des Blancs; a single cru: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; a single grape variety: Chardonnay; a single year: that of a great vintage; and of one man: Eugène-Aimé Salon.
The first vintage of Champagne Salon was 1905. It was the creation of Eugène-Aimé Salon, a unique character with unwavering ambition. In love with champagne and captivated by the terroir of Le Mesnil, Eugène-Aimé Salon created a champagne after his own heart: an unparalleled Blanc de Blancs. Initially he created this for his personal pleasure only – it was not until the 1920s that he was to share his creation with the rest of the world.
Champagne Salon comes from a single hectare plot called « the Salon garden » and nineteen other small plots in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger selected by Eugène-Aimé Salon at the beginning of the 20th century. The wines are aged in the cellars for an average of ten years, after which they finally start to reveal their complexity and finesse.
The fact that Salon still conserves bottles in its cellars from nearly every vintage is testament to its legacy and honours it. Just 37 vintages were produced in the 20th century, a unique phenomenon in the world of wine.
Today, Champagne Salon is run alongside Champagne Delamotte by Didier Depond, President, and Michel Fauconnet, Cellar Master and Production Manager of the Laurent-Perrier group. Today we talk about Salon 2008, the dream vintage.
The 2008 vintage of Champagne Salon is the absolute embodiment of this quest for perfection. It contains within it the poignant beauty of nature, reflecting its long, slow toil in the silence of the cellar. This is where that astonishing backdrop of savoury minerals emerged, that sensation of chalk in the mouth: an immediate hit, building slowly, gradually, ultimately all-enveloping. It was here that this virile wine took form, exceeding all expectations, here that its beautiful minerality was forged, heralding a wine with limitless ageing potential. In achieving perfect balance, nature’s work is complete.
After a mild winter, rainy spring and a positively glacial start to June, flowering was understandably reticent. But the wine 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.
2008 has yielded an exceptional champagne, true to the timeless spirit of Salon and the dream of Eugène-Aimé himself. A complicated year that has proved to be unique, it is the ultimate expression of chardonnay’s sublime potential, the genius of its site and its people.
Taste it and drink it just cool, between 13 and 15 degrees.
In the glass, Salon 2008 is the epitome of Salon – diaphanous, yellow diamond glinting with green rays; on the nose its aromatic depth is powerfully redolent of the earth, heralding on the palate that sense of balance and structural firmness that will allow the wine to develop its full complexity. There is a driving sense of stone here, a heightened minerality, its chalky acidity first drying then mouthwatering, slender and rapier-fine to the end of time to blossom finally like a flower, turning on the charm, its tiny, fine bubbles tantalizing…
Nature’s rich bounty provides so many matches for Salon 2008, from the air, land and sea. The sole requirement: it must be exquisite. Whatever that means for you – your grandma’s cooking, the revelation of your first truffle, oyster or caviar, that delicious ceviche or tempura, Salon 2008 will take its place at the table, generous and all-embracing in spirit. Faithful to the extraordinary vision of its founder, transcending all limits, Salon 2008 is the dream vintage: a champagne for all time.