Salon Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil

Posted by Keith Wallace

I’m dreaming of a blanc (de blanc) Christmas

(sung to the tune of White Christmas)

I’m dreaming of a blanc (de blancs) Christmas
All chardonnay, no pinot noir
The Salon is chilling
And artists swilling,
In a 1930s Paris bar

I’m dreaming of a blanc (de blancs) Christmas
Josephine staggers, then a-rights
May my day turn easily to night
And may all of my champagne be white

And the wine, the year, what fills my dreams?

Salon Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil 1928.

The war to end all wars is over. The collapsed market has yet to lap over onto France’s shores and Salon has become Maxim’s house wine. Paris is overrun with ex-pats, writers, musicians, and artists alike – many living historically hedonistic lives. And I certainly (aye, sadly), was not there.

Created in 1901 by Eugene-Aimé Salon, a visionary obsessed with perfection, Salon was the first blanc de blancs champagne ever created. Monsieur Salon’s idea was to create a masterpiece of balance and elegance. He bought choice land in the Cotes de Blancs (cru Mesnil-Sur-Oger) to cultivate his vines, and made the decision to bottle only vintage years, the first of these shared with friends in 1905.

Officially registered in 1920 – at the urging of said friends – there were only 37 vintages released by Salon in the 20th century. 1928 was one of the great vintages of that century, with champagnes boasting exceptional richness, aromas, complexities, and structures that have rarely been equaled. That is, until 1996.

Another classic harvest, the 1996 has been compared to the mythical 1928 vintage and is said to burst with exuberant and seductive aromas. With eyes closed, rouged lips slightly parted, I dream a pas de deux upon my palate that is nothing short of pure sybaritic pleasure.

Yes. I’m dreaming of a blanc de blancs Christmas. Maxim’s in Paris. Cigarettes. Charcoaled eyes. Slinky Poirret.

Memories not mine. Not yet. But soon.

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