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July 13, 2017

New Release: Salon Le Mesnil 2006

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Salon Le Mesnil is recognised along with Krug Clos du Mesnil and Cristal as the greatest Crus Champagne in the world. Salon is unique, created in the early 1900s as an inimitable concept: a single grape variety, Chardonnay, from a single terrior, in the single village: Le-Mesnil-sur-Oger, the finest Cru in the Cote de Blancs. This is the same 100% Grand Cru vineyard that Krug’s Clos du Mesnil is derived. Along with Krug Le Mesnil, Salon Le Mesnil has pride of place, representing Champagne in the pantheon of the world’s greatest wines. Salon often surpasses Krug in France and the US in the eyes of collectors. In the UK, Krug often takes the spotlight, as a result of Salon’s restrictive distribution partner. Salon is truly great and we are delighted to be able to offer their long awaited new vintage, the stunning 2006.

We are able to offer cases of six for £1,800 and magnums for £770. The world’s leading critics agree that the 2006 vintage is a triumph receiving some of the highest scores ever! Salon 2006 is yet untasted, but we can expect one of their finest ever, in line with the 2002, 1996 and 1990. Salon is the quintessential Blanc de Blancs, the connoisseur’s Champagne and globally sought after. Salon however, is only made in tiny quantities, with less than 50,000 bottles produced when a vintage is declared. In fact, they only released 37 vintages in the 20th century; an average of three a decade.

The 1976 magnum costs exactly 10 times the price, I’d love to crack open the 2006 in thirty years’ time, although the price could be stratospherically high, orders of magnitudes higher than today. The 2002 was originally released for £1,325 per six-bottle case and priced today at £1,850, we expect these two great vintages to rise in lock-step. This is one of the most sought after wines in the world, deriving from a great vintage and as can be seen below, Salon offers superb vintage premium, it is also a prized wine to have in any cellar.

Salon RJ JS AG £/6 £/1.5
2006 N/A N/A N/A £1,800 £770
2004 N/A 98 97+ £1,800 £795
2002 97 99 97 £1,850 £880
1996 97 98 98 £3,000 £1,200
1990 96 98 N/A £6,800 £2,200
1982 95 N/A N/A £6,100 £3,000
1976 96 N/A 95 £12,000 £7,700
1966 97 N/A N/A £30,000 £12,600

 

Salon’s story began in the early 20th century when Eugène Aimé Salon, a wealthy furrier, returned to his native Champagne to fashion a wine purely from Chardonnay. However, his motivation was limited to making a wine for personal pleasure and impressing his peers and customers. Salon began experimenting with his 1905 vintage; however his brother-in-law, a local winemaker, told him of the grapes grown on the vineyard Le Mesnil which were high in acidity, creating powerful wines with a wonderful ability to age. In 1911 Salon bought one hectare in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and formed his Champagne house. Of the 20 vineyards in Le Mesnil which Salon selected to source his original grapes, 19 are still used today, the only vineyard now absent is Clos Tarin, bought in 1976 by Krug for its Clos du Mesnil.
Contrary to conventional wine making at the time, Salon decided to harness Mesnil’s purest archetype by making Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Salon broke the mould by creating a Champagne made solely from Chardonnay that could match, or exceed the body and structure of Champagne made from a large percentage of Pinot Noir. He soon realised that the Champagne he was making could age for decades and he decided to stipulate to let it age for 10 years, resulting in the first Blanc de Blancs Champagne in 1911, his first commercial vintage was released in 1921. For many years Salon Le Mesnil was only served at Salon’s lavish parties and drunk by his friends. However, Salon decided to make his wine available at the renowned Art Nouveau restaurant Maxim’s, which he frequented for lunch and dinner and conducted his business affairs. He arranged that a whole page on the menu be devoted to advertising Salon and it quickly became the house pour.

Eugène Aimé Salon died in 1943, still a bachelor, leaving Salon to his sister and nephew, who struggled for 20 years until they sold it to Dubonet-Cinzano, who in turn did little to develop the brand. However, Salon’s extraordinary global cachet was formed as a result of a wartime love affair. Bernard de Nonancourt, the late president of Laurent Perrier, was a sergeant in the French 2nd Armoured Division and part of the first group of Allied soldiers to reach the Eagle’s Nest and Hitler’s huge wine cellar, which contained hundreds of bottle of stolen 1928 Salon. De Nonancourt fell in love with the Champagne and vowed to purchase the Estate if it was ever up for sale, which he did in 1989: Laurent Perrier combined Salon with Delamotte resulting in the Salon-Delamotte house. Since the Laurent Perrier acquisition quality has improved and Salon continues to adhere to Eugène Aimé’s minimum of 10 years ageing before the wine is released to market and only in exceptional vintages.

Salon Le Mesnil focuses on maintaining its natural fresh, racy acidity, allowing it to age and improve for more than 30 years. It displays unbelievable levels of complexity on the nose and the palate creates a harmony between a linear freshness and a broad, round weighty mouth-feel. In 2011 a bottle of 1955 Salon sold for a record price of $5,944 at an Acker, Merrall & Condit sale representing the desire of collectors the world over to own the greatest Champagne.

Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs 2006, 6×75 – £1,800 In Bond or £2,179.97 including duty and VAT
1×150 – £770 In Bond or £930.66 including duty and VAT