2008 salon, le mesnil-sur-oger grand cru
Why We're Buying
Many Champagne houses add pinot noir or pinot meunier to round of the flavor of their cuvée. Champagne Salon begs to differ. It produces Le Mesnil-sur-Oger entirely from chardonnay, with 2021 representing the 100th anniversary of the cuvées debut. During that time, the estate has only released 37 vintages, never producing more than 60,000 bottles in a single year. Few estates have higher standards than Salon. As a result, few estates command higher prices. This legendary Champagne stands out as the gold standard for bubbly, with critics comparing it to a white Burgundy with bubbles. The 2012 Salon vintage almost didn’t exist. In 2014, Salon's president Didier Depond had reportedly said there were no great vintages since 2008. Time has a way of changing people’s minds, though. The evolution of the 2012 vintage was undeniable, yielding a sweeping and structured Champagne with a tightly knit core of stone fruit, acids, oyster shells, brioche, and creamy mousse. Critics have uniformly praised 2012 Salon since its release. The Wine Advocate’s William Kelley called it “after the 2008, the finest Salon produced this millennium.” Meanwhile, wine critic James Suckling gave the vintage a 98-point rating, praising it as “layered and refined with wonderful complexity.”
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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.
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. Drink Dates: 2020 - 2058