Salon 2004

Nickolls & PerksChampagne, WinesLeave a Comment

By Will Gardener
Brut NV New Label

The finest Champagne I have ever tasted was a recently disgorged magnum of Salon 1976 extracted from the Mesnil Sur Oger cellars, among others, for an event organised by the Institute of Masters of Wine. So when I was invited to the launch of the new vintage, 2004, at the Park Lane Hilton’s newly refurbished Galvin at Windows Restaurant, I couldn’t resist. By the way the view from the 24th floor is mesmerising.

We were served four wines from Salon’s sister property. Champagne Delamotte  is very fortunate to be able to include the declassified wines from the Salon vineyards when they decide they are not quite up to the required level. On average Salon releases a vintage three or four times a decade. Of course Delamotte Estate has its own vineyards and so is not at all reliant on Salon, but this has to be the ultimate seasoning.

The Delamotte wines are great value, the NV a great socialising wine, it has a lovely, easy balanced style with freshness and youthful verve. The Blanc de Blancs has fine pear and acacia aromatics with plenty of tension and precision. The 2007 Vintage has obvious brioche with a complex mazy palate, finishing quite dry and long with a lowish dosage of 4-5 grams per litre and the Rose is light, charming and delicately fragranced with red fruits.

We were treated to two vintages of Salon, the second vintage, 1997, carefully chosen to compliment rather than over power its sibling. I tasted this first saving the main event until last. I did wonder initially if this was perhaps a mistake, but I think not as both showed very well. I think the 1997 traced a little of the path the 2004 will take with its admirable calm balanced style, delicately nuanced, elegant and very long. It certainly didn’t threaten the new wine with its proportion as perhaps the 2002 may have.

I spoke to Didier Dupond the president of the Salon house who passionately explained that 2004  has a quite unique salty, oyster shell like minerality, in part due to the great concentration achieved. In fact 2004 was generally a very big Champagne crop but at Salon they had carried out two vigorous green harvests. The more usual 60,000 bts were trimmed to merely 44,000. This really is boutique production on the same sort of scale of the finest Le Montrachets from DRC etc.

I think this is potentially a great Salon, there is texture, harmony, great finesse and crystalline purity. I felt it was tremendously enjoyable to study from now and enjoy over the next ten to fifteen years as the complexity reveals itself. So you will need a few bottles!




Nickolls & PerksSalon 2004

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