We started with a 2004 Salon. I have to admit that this bottle does not bowl me over. Steely and aloof, I find the aromatics “distant”. The palate is taut and malic, with just a hint of orange zest coming through with a sapid finish. Fine length, but I could not engage with this champagne, leaving me a bit cold. Too young? Quite possibly, though, I have enjoyed other vintages of Salon more than this.
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2030
Just released. Twinkly-eyed Didier Depond, p resident of Champagne Salon and in his 20th year at the company, explains that the heatwave conditions of 2003 had a significant influence on 2004: low ground water meant warmer soils, promoting growth and minimising disease. Abundant fruit set so that they took the unusual step of carrying out a green harvest. A cool August prolonged the ripening season, then September was fine for the harvest. As always, 100% Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, aged at least 10 years on the lees. Disgorged autumn 2015 with a dosage of 5-6 g/l. Incidentally, importers Corney & Barrow suggest drink dates from now to 2050+, and tasting the older wines in this line-up, I can see it will continue a lot longer than I have suggested but it does turn into a very different drink. Very refined light lemony nose with a slightly dusty character, almost like sherbet but not sweet. Biscuity note softens the really crisp and elegant lemon flavour. Tiny bubbles, and smoothed by the creamy lees texture. Very youthful and so tight. So light on its feet but incredibly long. (JH)
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028