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Salon Champagne

Is Salon one of those champagnes that I should try at least once? I've heard the magical stories and the multitude of praise heaped on it. I was debating shelling out the $300 to try the '96. It would be close to $200 more than I've spent on myself for any bottle of wine at retail. I bring this up also because there's a semi-occasion dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and they have the '95 Salon listed at $260, which is actually less than what most retailers are charging, if they even carry it at all.

Opinions? Tasting notes and/or stories appreciated.

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  1. yes, if you love champagne, you should have some Salon.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ibstatguy

      I had the pleasure of tasting the 96 Salon a few weeks ago and I hate to say it but it is truly remarkable. 96 is an amazing vintage for Champagne! I would love to know which style Champagne you have had and loved in the past becuase if you are looking for anything like Krug or Bollinger in style you may be disappointed as the Salon is very graceful and delicate not yeasty and powerful. This is a Champagne to spend some time with, let it warm a bit in the glass so you can truly taste the complexity of flavors. I would say go for it!

      1. re: bubbles4me

        have had '96s from Jacquesson, Taittinger, Clicquot, Dom, amongst others and my one thought is that I shoulda bought a LOT more 96s, from anyone. Concur that Salon is nothing like Bollinger.

        1. re: ibstatguy

          That is so funny, when eveyone was going ga-ga over the 95 vintage Champagnes I was stashing away the ignored 96's...I scored! One more thing with the Salon do not muck it up by serving it with over the top food and for the love of all that is wholy stay way from chocolate or anything sweet.

      2. re: ibstatguy

        And ONLY if you LOVE Champagne . . . .

        Otherwise, it's overpriced and plenty of other wines will come "close enough." But if one truly loves Champagne, then -- absolutely, unequivocally, andwithout hesitation: YES!

      3. the 96 is much better than the 95. in fact, the 96 is one of the greatest champagnes i have ever had during my 45+ years of winegeekdom. if you want to know just how great salon can be spring for the 96.

        the only champage that i would choose over salon year-in-year-out is phillipponant's clos des goisses. cdg is considerably less expensive than salon but usually harder to find. that said, at this time the 96 salon is drinking much better than the 96 cdg.

        1. I can't tell you how to spend your money. But, for me, Salon was in the very short list of "try before you die" wines. And now having had it, I would not remove it from that list.

          However, I concur with everyone else. If this is a remarkable and unusual splurge, go for the '96. (Or, if you can find it at a comperable price, the '90, which is the best smelling Champagne I have ever had.)

          1. Me 7. or 8. or whatever. Every 96 I've had has been among the best of that producer I've tasted... and Salon, as whiner put it, is "try before you die" stuff if wine is important to you. Incidentally, if you do buy it, it is certainly capable of being cellared for awhile. I was lucky enough to taste a vertical of 88-90 Salon at a tasting last year, and every one of them was vibrant and totally rockin'.

            1. Thanks, the '96 it will be. Don't even bother with a food pairing right?

              6 Replies
                1. re: mengathon

                  Champagne is great on its own, and also pairs wel with SOOO much. I had the '90 with a great charcuterie selection and some hazelnuts. No problem there...

                  1. re: mengathon

                    I would most definitely pair it with food... food and wine are a symbiotic, inextricably linked thing, IMHO. I agree with whiner about some good charcuterie... Fried oysters (yes, fried oysters) would be another suggestion, and if it were an "r" month, cold water fresh oysters would be fantastic as well. Actually, I drank 90 Krug with a BLAT (blt w/avocado) made from really good bacon and tomatoes from the farmers market etc, and it was off the proverbial HOOK.

                    1. re: mengathon

                      Champagne goes with EVERYTHING! so eat whatever you feel like with it! Some Brillat Savarin would be spectacular...

                      and I recall a wedding reception where I was drinking some exceptional Champagne (tho NOT Salon) and a roving waiter served me a grilled lamb chop. Wow! was that a great match.

                      1. re: mengathon

                        Salon is from the village of Le Mesnil sur Oger. Last night, we had another Champagne from Mesnil s/Oger -- Pierre Peters, a Brut Blanc de Blancs, like the Salon -- with Beluga caviar on toast points. Yum!

                        1. re: zin1953

                          I just had the Pierre Peters NV brut blanc de blancs with poached turbot. Definitely yum. I don't buy a lot of champagne but it seemed like a good value at $39.

                      2. One of the restaurants in the Boston area claims to sell their reserve wines at cost -- happened to notice that one of the bottles was a '96 Salon was going for $264; you might be able to get it for under $300 assuming similar wholesale and tax structure in your state.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: limster

                          what restaurant is this? Pier 4?

                            1. re: tacostacoseverywhere

                              I love Champagne and I love caviar but I feel that when you put the two together that the caviar tastes better but the Champagne gets crushed a bit so with a wine like the 96 Salon I would keep it simple, salty and fairly clean. For me it would be either oysters, potato chips or french fries. Truly decadent.

                              1. re: bubbles4me

                                Agree about sturgeon caviar and champagne, which I've concluded is more a conceit (tiny spheres on the spoon + tiny spheres in the glass, the caviar of caviars + the caviar of wines) than a gastronomic imperative. Save the ossetra for vodka stashed in the freezer at least 48 hours or, if you insist on champagne, go for a bone dry cuvée (ultra brut, brut sauvage, etc.), not a Salon.

                                Once did a raw oyster and wine tasting. Champagne fared less badly than with black caviar but Sancerre was better and Muscadet best of all. Just sayin'.

                                Two suggestions for a pairing:
                                - Reduce heavy cream by a third. Flake delicate smoked trout and stir in just before serving. Dress fresh fettucelle with the cream. Garnish each portion with a spoonful of whitefish caviar. (H/T Alice Waters)
                                - Gourmet stovetop (not mircowave) popcorn, sprinkled with parmesan and drizzled with white truffle oil.

                          1. If you can do it at a restaurant for $260 the DO IT!

                            You would do yourself a big favor by buying a handful of bottles and stowing them away for a few years.

                            Just a couple weeks ago I popped open a bottle of 85 Salon. Undeniably one of the top three Champagnes I've had in my life.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: waffleman

                              My wife just received a bottle of 1985 Salon. Thanks for the preview.

                            2. I've had the '96 and it is excellent. I also had a bottle of the '83 & the '85! Top notch.

                              1. Salon is an amazing Champagne regardless of the vintage, but the 2006 is absurdly delicious. I was at a marketing event at the Bubble Lounge in San Francisco and a rep from their distributor had it hidden under the table. I saw him pull it out for someone and recognized that green/gold label and asked him very nicely for a taste. And then I asked for just one more. It didn't hurt that the winery I worked for was also distributed by his company and that we were in the business of making bubbly domestically. Since then, I've tasted it blind against other tete de cuvees from the more popular houses, and time and again it has come out on top.

                                If you love Champagne and want to taste the preeminent blanc de blancs-style bubbly, you cannot miss with Salon. If you're willing to spend that much money on a bottle, I'd pick Salon over Krug, Bollinger, and the much overrated Cristal.

                                1. Yes, but ONLY if you are a true lover of Champagne, and only if you let the wine properly age . . . .

                                  1. I finally had the pleasure of a couple of glasses of the '96 Salon at a very special tasting featuring some incredible stuff. In a word: good God. Okay that's two, but superlatives are necessary.

                                    It was easily the best blanc de blancs I've ever tried, even though it is probably too young. The nose was incredibly complex. Vanilla, a hint of butter, citrus, ginger, yeasty bread. What was amazing was that it changed constantly every few minutes. Sometimes one note was more dominant, other times, it settled into the background. The flavors in the mouth were rich, minerally, and intense. It also had great acidity and structure to age for, well, ages. And the length... I can't wait to see what this turns into ten or twenty years from now. My next paycheck may be solely devoted to a half-case of this stuff to drink once every 5 years.

                                    Thanks all. I'm glad all of you told me to seek it out. OTOH, between this and the Krug Grande Cuvée, I may be ruined for life...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mengathon

                                      >>> OTOH, between this and the Krug Grande Cuvée, I may be ruined for life... <<<

                                      Yes, well -- that IS the risk!