Represented by Didier Depond
This jewel of a house is unique in Champagne in that it has always only produced a single wine, made from a single village, grape variety and vintage. It has always been a rare and exclusive champagne ever since it was created in the early years of the 20th century, and officially, there have only been 37 vintages ever released. Salon is a champagne that has always had a certain glamour about it, but it is never ostentatious or lavish. It is a champagne of connoisseurs, but even then, it is restricted to the small group of those knowledgeable enough to understand and appreciate it and wealthy enough to afford it. Eugène-Aimé Salon was a native of Champagne, born in the village of Pocancy, just to the east of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, in 1867. Salon’s brother-in-law, Marcel Guillaume, was the chef de cave for a small champagne producer called Clos Tarin, and would eventually establish the cooperative of the Union des Producteurs de la Côte des Blancs. In his youth, Salon assisted Guillaume in his work, but later became a furrier in Paris with the firm of Chapel, and his success in the fur trade allowed him to begin working with several hectares of vines himself in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The beginnings of the company have become slightly shrouded in legend, and there are contradictory reports, even among professional wine writers, as to its origins. Officially speaking, the house of Salon states that the first vintage ever made was the 1905, which was produced solely for the private consumption of Eugène-Aimé Salon, and served to his guests while entertaining at his home. The first vintage offered for sale was the 1921, and thus this can also be interpreted as the year that Salon was founded as a commercial business. Salon became the house champagne of Maxim’s in Paris during the 1920s, which helped to establish the wine’s extraordinary reputation during the ’20s and ’30s.
Eugène-Aimé Salon died in 1943, and twenty years later, in 1963, the house was sold to Besserat de Bellefon, which was in turn purchased by Pernod-Ricard. In 1989, Salon was purchased by Laurent-Perrier, and it is now the sister company of Champagne Delamotte, which is located just next-door in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Today Salon is made from 20 parcels located in the heart of Le Mesnil’s vineyard area, totaling an area of about 12 hectares, and although the house has contracts with eight different growers, 80 percent of the vineyard work is carried out by the house’s own viticultural team. The wine continues to include grapes from the same parcels in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger as in the time of Eugène-Aimé Salon—while the owners of these parcels have changed, the contracts have withstood the passage of time. In the years when Salon is not produced, the grapes go to Delamotte, or else to other houses in the Laurent-Perrier group. As with Delamotte, the champagne of Salon is made by Michel Fauconnet, chef de cave of Laurent-Perrier, who took over from his predecessor, Alain Terrier, in early 2004.
Information courtesy of Peter Liem's ChampagneGuide.net ©