Some Champagnes: Restrained, but has clearly a wonderful balance. The fruit is even quite mature, but hidden beneath acidity and structure. An intense wine with minerals. Way too young. Rating for now.
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(Salon) All hail the 1996 Salon. It may be the greatest young Champagne I have ever tasted, along with the 1996 Clos du Mesnil (we’ll get into the differences in a minute). The ’96 Salon was as great as it’s ever been. Every time I have this Champagne, it just kills it, never disappointing. White ice, diamonds, laser show, rockets on skates….Bryan found it ‘tight and clean, more Chevalier.’ He then went on about how every great wine, or terroir, ends up getting compared to Burgundy. Good point. On this night, I preferred it to the Krug Close du Mesnil; on other nights, it has been a different story. Richard found the Salon ‘pure and fat,’ also finding it one of the night’s top two.
(Salon) A few days later it was off to Long Island for a couple of bottles with another friend of the court, and we started off in familiar territory, with a 1996 Salon. If there is a better young Champagne in the world today, please let me know. I have written this bubbly up on numerous occasions, and it was lightning in a bottle again. Minerals and diamonds abounded as the Salon wrapped my palate in mink and then cut right thru it with its razor-sharp acidity and long, sexy finish (97).
(Salon) The Monday after brought another festive gathering, kicked off by a spectacular bottle of 1996 Salon. This bottle was just perfect, like drinking diamonds. It just sparkled from first sip to last. Minerals, white fruits and extraordinary acidity produced lightning in a bottle. It was so fresh, so long and so balanced. Its tangy, pungent fruit was like a sun rising with its yellow flavors, and this Champagne just dropped me to my knees (97).
(Salon Salon Vintage Champagne) Somehow, we made it over to Mina’s, and I had some 1996 Salon, which was the same as it ever was, and that is one of the greatest young Champagnes that I have ever tasted
(Salon) We took a turn towards Le Mesnil and familiar grounds. The 1996 Salon was at the top of the ladder right away, as usual. This Blanc de Blancs (100% chardonnay) cuvee was clean and pungent, complex and full of anise and minerals. Clean, lean and mean, the Salon was racy like Ricky Bobby and ready for sponsorship with its wintry wonderland of flavors. With its laser-like precision and deft personality, the 1996 Salon showed why it is one of the Champagnes of the vintage again
(Salon) Had two spectacular wines at my birthday party that were brought kindly and unexpectedly. The first was the finest bottle of 1996 Salon I have had up to this point. So clean and so perfect. Delicate as a feather. Truly Chevalier-like. Wistful wine with amazing delicacy, detail and finesse. Has years to go but is a linear, perfect beauty now.
(Salon) We started everyone off with compliemtary glasses of 1996 Salon, generously donated to the auction by the greatest Champagne collector in the world, aka Big Boy style. It is still the best young Champagne that I have ever had
(Salon) This wine was truly breathtaking as it had everything I look for in a profound wine. It was made from Chardonnay, it was Grand Cru and it was 1996. Nose of yeast, toast, some green apple and spice. But the story here was the palate. This was dense, ripe, yeasty, toasty and so full of flavor intensity it morphed with your mouth and all of a sudden your mouth turned in to 1996 Salon and there was no going back. Piercingly mineral with ripe, crunchy acids, some nice green fruit (by green I mean young) and an amazing finish that has multiple layers and when you think its done it is not. Keeps on giving. Obviously this wine is young and will knock you on your ass in twenty years but it is awfully tasty today. What a wine. I need to taste the 1996 Krug though as I hear it's the other contender for best of vintage.
(Salon) was served out of a successfully sabered 750ml. There were actually four successfully sabered bottles by our host, who must have been practicing a lot on cases of Korbel or something, as he had it down. The 1996 Salon was like the razor’s edge; there was so much vim, vigor and acidity here it was like being in the eye of a storm. One could see the greatness of the 1996 vintage in the Salon, which was fresh as a baby’s bottom. It was white meaty underneath that 1996 greatness; so balanced, so long, so stylish and deeply penetrating. Rob gave it ‘6 stars. Incredible. Pure Blanc de Blanc Le Mesnil. No dosage.’ It was probably the greatest young Champagne that I have ever tasted
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