A real treasure. Extremely rare and of unprecedented finesse. Please be aware that this case will reach our private cellar in August 2020 (only 6 available).
The Salon Oenothèque 2008 contains:
- 1 magnum of Salon 2008
- 2 bottles of Salon 2007
- 2 bottles of Salon 2006
- 2 bottles of Salon 2004
All disgorged at the same time prior to shipping.
Please note due to the nature of the case and its composition, it will not be possible to split the case for delivery.
This unique mixed case of wines, released on 18th September 2019, is a defining moment for Champagne Salon, setting it apart once again. In its uniqueness, rarity and absolute quality – enduring hallmarks of this discreet house since the outset – the Salon Oenothèque 2008 honours the legacy and audacious, pioneering spirit of its idiosyncratic founder Eugène-Aimé Salon. Alongside Salon 2008 in magnum, this special collection brings together recent and final disgorgements of the three preceding Salon vintages – 2007, 2006, 2004 – marking the last time these vintages will be released for sale.
Salon 2008 Magnum
2008 has garnered a reputation for being a stellar vintage, however the growing season was by no means a smooth ride for vignerons in the Côte des Blancs or indeed the wider Champagne region.
Winter was mild, with a rainy spring that replenished water reserves. A glacial start to June put the brakes on progress, and the vines were hesitant to flower, leading to significantly reduced crops. Fortunately, temperatures fell more into line as the month continued, promising a more positive fruit set. July brought moderate, even conditions to help the fruit on its way, turbo boosted by a resplendent August. While a dull, grey start to September halted progress, ripening continued slowly but surely, the grapes gradually gaining in power and concentration. Salon’s vineyards in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger were harvested on 17th September, the berries in pristine condition with an astonishing balance of sugar and acidity.
2008 is the epitome of Salon, an extraordinary wine, aromatically, texturally, structurally, a paradox as it is so often described, defying definition. Didier Depond calls this the ‘dream vintage’. Its classic white flower perfume moves knowingly between innocence and exoticism. The palate is crystalline, fine as silk, with immense power building in the mouth, its incisive chalky acids commanding attention while infinite tiny bubbles smooth and titillate. Still young of course, it is less austere than it is grand, an exercise in grace through precision.
The 2007 vintage yielded mixed results in Champagne. Weather conditions in 2007 were neatly summarised in an official local report as ‘climatologie chaotique’, an apt description.
The challenges led to significant heterogeneity in style and quality across the wider region, in fact a swathe of prominent names did not even declare the vintage. Fortunately for followers of Salon, the conditions favoured the Côte des Blancs and the chardonnay variety. Winter 2007 was unusually mild. This shifted forward the entire season, with an early bud-break and hot April pointing to harvest as early as mid- August. However, unsettled weather through May and part of June led to uneven flowering across the region, altering fortunes and timings.
Fortunately Le Mesnil and neighbouring villages in the Côte des Blancs were spared the greater vagaries and Salon set a healthy crop. The latter part of June and the whole of July were promising, with warm, sunny conditions across the region, but a dismal August led many growers to harvest before the grapes were fully ripe, fearing the impact of rains.
Those who waited, were rewarded handsomely, as the last week of August saw a return to sunshine. This, together with a persistent, dry, east wind, brought the grapes to maturity, and mitigated the threat of disease. As the season reached full term, Salon’s grapes attained perfect ripeness – rich in sugars with fine incisive acids.
Salon 2007 bears all the hallmarks of a classic Salon vintage: the purity and power, the haunting perfume both delicate and decadent, the texture refined as silk; then, the unmistakable backbone of acid that cuts a cool swathe through the palate, leaving the stony imprint of the terroir.
There has been much comment on 2006 champagnes, widely acknowledged for their heterogeneity, due in part to highly varied weather conditions across the region.
The general consensus is that these wines display their richness more than their acidities, less incisive perhaps in a season that saw considerable midsummer heat spikes. Chardonnay tends to shine in vintages like this, as will producers blocking malolactic fermentation in pursuit of firm acid structure. Salon is the champion of both.
The 2006 growing season got off to a slow start, after a cold winter and a dull, rainy spring. June brought sunshine and warm, even conditions, perfect for flowering. Waves of warmth continued through July, accelerating growth in the vines and causing some consternation among vignerons, fearful of a repeat of 2003’s heatwave. Perfectly on cue, August turned cool and rainy, prompting altogether different concerns.
Fortunately, September saw a return to glorious sunshine, accompanied by cool nights and mornings, bringing the grapes to perfect ripeness. Salon 2006, most recently tasted in January 2019, is immediately expressive, the magical Salon scent somehow more golden and Autumnal in tone. Didier has called this the ‘romantic’ vintage in its contrasts of light and dark both aromatically and structurally. The wine is certainly rich, but remains refined in its textural detail and structure, underpinned by firm Salon acids.
The 2004 vintage in Champagne remains impressive for both its quality and quantity, a rare and happy phenomenon in the wine world and particularly in more marginal climates.
Some – though by no means all- of the better houses opted to carry out a ‘vendange verte’ in this bumper year, in pursuit of absolute quality and balance.
As always, the wines are the product of the year, and vines are on a continuum – we must always look to the past. Europe’s heatwave vintage of 2003 left its mark in the vines and the soils. As the calendar rolled round to spring 2004, low ground water levels led to drier, warmer soils. This, together with fine weather in June, resulted in an impressive fruit set promising large crops, and indeed many houses went onto harvest enormous quantities. At this point, Salon took the rare decision to carry out a green harvest, with the aim of attaining the concentration and acid balance worthy of a Salon vintage. A dismal August caused a hiatus in the ripening process, ultimately fortuitous as the season was then extended naturally. Glorious late summer sunshine and cool night-time temperatures proved magical, bringing Salon’s small harvest to astonishing ripeness, balanced by pristine acids.
Salon 2004 has always shown a certain serenity. Graceful and inviting with ripe comice and hints of brioche, the wine retains the taut, saline edge of all Salon vintages, balancing curve and tension. 15 years on from the vintage (at time of writing in September 2019), this last disgorgement is vinous and mineral, showing the signature Salon freshness and salinity but already expansive on the palate. A beautiful wine, produced in small quantities.