Champagne Salon was founded in 1911 by Eugene Aimé Salon, aesthete and amateur of Champagne, who initially created the perfect Champagne initially for his and his own friends‘ consumption. Son of a Champenois cart maker Aimé went to Paris, where he found a position in the fur trade, initially as a messenger boy, then rapidly gaining responsibility and taking the company‘s destiny into his own hands, and doing so becoming of the most glittering personalities of Parisian life at the turn of the century. Though he travelled a lot for work, he always kept close ties with champagne: tasting differentt champagnes, he would always wanted to create one by himself.
So, at the beginning of the 1900s, he bought a vineyard in one of the best cru, in Mesnil sur Oger, in the heart of Côte des Blancs, with the purpose to produce a non-blended Champagne for him and his relatives. Encouraged by his friends, Aimé Salon decided to start selling this champagne after the first world war. In 1921 , the trademark “Salon” was born.The first known vintage was 1905 and from that moment the House has created 37 vintages, only in the best years, which is approximately 3 years out of 10. When Aimé Salon died in 1943, the House was acquired by Dubonnet, then by Pernod-Ricard and finally by Laurent-Perrier in 1988.
Salon is today the sister of Delamotte House inside the Laurent Perrier group, the latter producing non vintage champagnes while Salon focusing only on vintages, from one single cru, le Mesnil-sur-Oger, from one single grape variety, Chardonnay, and only in the best years, leaving to Delamotte the grapes of those years without a vintage.
Salon produces only one single Champagne, the Salon « S », always as vintage and, unlike most champagnes, it is only made up of Chardonnay. Thensuper-premium Blanc de Blancs produced comes from a single one hectare plot « jardin de Salon » and the same original 20 parcels in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.
Salon only produces its vintages in exceptional years, when the quality of the grapes is deemed to be very good, and the House produces only on limited quantity (60000 bottles for the vintage 1995), and after a long cellar aging period – 10 years instead of 3 to 5 years for other champagne – when it is reached the perfect marriage of acidity and fruit. Grapes are picked and sorted by hand, pressing is carried out at le Mesnil-sur-Oger, with a traditional press used only for Salon and only the first pressing, or cuvée, is used, the purest, freshest juice, containing the highest percentage of acidity, which is essential to the evolution and vivacity of the Champagne.
Salon exports 95% of the production to sixty countries, where Salon is recognised among the top houses worldwide. In Japan, in particular, Salon is considered the King of Blanc des Blancs, followed by Usa and Uk; the House is also growing in markets like Brasil, India, China and Russia.
Cellar master is Michel Fauconnet, who is also in charge of the blending of Laurent Perrier and Delamotte. Since 1997 Salon is directed, along with Delamotte, by Didier Depond, who is also Executive President of Laurent Perrier.
Salon is one of the rarest and most expensive Champagne’s on the planet, only made in exceptional years and there have only been 37 vintages in the last century. This top of the class champagne, Salon “S”, is only made of grapes sourced from vineyards in the Côte des Blancs region, from a one-hectare parcel owned by Salon: “Salon’s garden”, and from 19 other smaller parcels in Mesnil-sur-Oger, chosen by Eugène-Aimé Salon at the beginning of the century.
Every step of the production has to be controlled: obtained from one single cru in Mesnil sur Oger, one the best cru in Champagne region for Chardonnay grapes, the champagne is then cellared in the bottle for an average of 10 years, gaining in complexity and finesse. Every parcel is fermented separately and lees are kept more than the usual time in the wine, so to allow the wine to gain structure and to last more, so to taste it even after 25-30 years. Salon, conscious of the rarity and pureness of this champagne, chooses to produce it only when there are the perfect conditions for the ripening of the grapes and they are perfectly balanced in fruitiness and acidity.
It is a champagne rich and with complex aromas: its colour bright yellow diamond, with a fine, persistent mousse and long creamy finish has notes of bergamot and saline flavours followed by vanilla, dried fruits and buttery notes and the freshness of grapefruit and fig, revealing its wondrous and unique character. It is easily compared in its fullness and richness to the great wines of Burgundy.
To learn more about Salon read BestChampagne exclusive interview with its President Didier Depond.