The 1999 Salon, tasted from magnum, is the first wine in which fresh, primary fruit flavors are replaced by more mature notes. Lemon oil, light honey and chamomile flesh out in a radiant, expressive Champagne loaded with class. Here it is the wine’s texture and breadth that impress above all else. The 1999 is a fabulous transition to the older wines in this tasting, as it is both youthful and complex. Drink now-2029.
The Salon 1999 Brut Le Mesnil – disgorged already in 2011 and dosed with a pretty typical six grams of residual sugar – displays faintly fusil and quarry dust notes as well as hickory nut, almond, walnut and toasted wheat piquancy on the nose. Polished and subtly creamy in texture yet brightly juicy with apple and lemon, this displays an uncanny sense of lift and refinement, perfectly complementing the honeysuckle and heliotrope perfume that waft inner-mouth. You could lose yourself in the ineffability of this wine’s floral diversity and in its resonantly nut and grain low tones. Hints of apple pip lend subtle additional piquancy on a long and at once soothing as well as stimulating finish, with suggestions of oyster liquor becoming prominent as the bottle stands open for a few minutes, and serving to milk the salivary glands for all that they are worth. Follow this for at least a decade.
There's a streak of minerality and a lacy texture to this floral Champagne, with finely tuned acidity to focus the candied lemon zest, poached pear, nutmeg and ginger hints. A more delicate style, but seamless in its balance and finesse, with a subtle finish. Drink now through 2024. 5,000 cases made.
The 1999 Brut Blanc de Blancs is impenetrable. This is a massive, full-bodied Salon that totally saturates the palate with fruit. Neither as austere or pointed as the 1996, nor as open as the 1997, instead the 1999 comes across as big, rich and powerful. There is little in the way of flavor or aromatic development, and it may be some time before any real complexity develops in bottle. Today it looks like the wine's best days are well off into the future. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2039.