This bottle of the 1996 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut was drinking superbly and represents the apotheosis of Blanc de Blancs, unfurling over the course of three hours with a stunningly complex bouquet of citrus oil, confit lemon, dried white flowers and oyster shell, with hints of praline and pastry cream becoming more pronounced as the wine opens up in the glass. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, defined by the incisive spine so typical of the vintage that, here, is cloaked in layers of crisp fleshy and chalky extract. The finish is long, penetrating and saline. (WK)
Incredible freshness and tightness with fantastic acidity and minerality. Full-bodied, compacted and intense. Flinty! Then light yeast and bread dough. Superb. In suspended animation!
The 1996 Salon is just beginning to enter the early part of its plateau of maturity. Time in bottle has softened some of the razor-sharp focus the 1996 had when it was first released, but all of the energy it had as a young Champagne remains. A host of candied lemon, almonds and wild flowers punctuate the sculpted, persistent finish. Readers who own the 1996 can look forward to another two decades or more of exceptional drinking. This is the ultimate expression of Champagne as wine. (AG)
While many of the best '96s do remain impressively youthful, this seems to be stuck in a time capsule that brooks no change, at least not willingly! The ultra-elegant nose is clearly still developing and while there are background traces of apple, yeast and floral undertones in evidence, it is the citrus elements that presently dominate. The incredible refinement doesn't stop with the nose however as the detailed and vibrant flavors are firm yet delicate with fine shadings of citrus, yeast and something vaguely akin to minerality that continues onto the pure, harmonious and driving finish that is bone dry but not austere. It's hard to predict exactly when this might be at its best, though my sense is 5 to 7 years hence. Tasted twice recently with consistent results.
The latest release from Salon, this just explodes in the mouth with mineral, steel and flint. The tiny mousse has flavors of yeast and just a touch of toast. It is rich, but so austere and structured. (RV)
I have had my share of oxidized vintages of Salon in the last decade, but this bottle of the 1996 was spot on and absolutely singing at our tasting and is one of the most exciting bottles of Salon I have tasted in years. The stunning nose soars from the glass in a blaze of pear, apple, fresh-baked bread, caraway seed, a complex base of chalky soil tones, fresh nutmeg and plenty of smokiness in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, crisp and complex, with a rock solid core of fruit, great mineral drive, refined mousse and simply stunning length and grip on the laser-like finish. Sheer brilliance.
*no tasting note given*
Green-tinged gold. Incredibly complex, intense bouquet of smoky, leesy orange, pear, licorice, minerals and bitter quinine. The super-concentrated citrus, quince and pear liqueur flavors convey an almost painful impression of extract and positively explode across the palate. Elegant, poised and precise in a manner rare for a wine with such flavor intensity. The vibrant, minerally, extremely long finish simply doesn't let up. This should age effortlessly for a decade or two. (JR)
A deep, vinous style, with understated power and grace. The lemon verbena, toast and honey aromas and flavors are propelled by the well-integrated structure and fine bubbles. There's just a hint of greenness, marking its youthful impetuosity. Has great length. *Collectibles* (BS)
Very tight little bead. Mid straw. Very distinctive. Very tightly wound. Introspective. Almost nervous but admirable. A bit like a hugely respected but utterly un-attention-seeking academic. Wonderful texture. Then opens out on the palate. Very firm. Mineral rather than fruit or veg or breadiness. (JR) 18.5/20 points
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