Salon Le Mesnil 2002 (minor back label issue)
Price: $8990 / bottle
By Wine Enthusiast in 2014 (WE100)
The 35th and most recent vintage of Salon since the house was founded in 1905 is memorable and magnificent. Made only from Chardonnay grown in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, it combines intense minerality, a crisp textured core and the beginnings of maturity. The depths of this wine, with its layers of fruit and steeliness, are superb. Even after 12 years, it still needs to age further.
By Decanter (D100)
An almost ideal growing season with no periods of extreme weather, ending with a cool but sunny September. Harvest began on 16 September. The very classy nose has a mineral-infused character underlying its spicy, floral scents. This Salon has the power to be long-lived and the freshness and vivacity to be already enjoyable, but also to be an ideal companion for a gastronomic meal. Perfection.
By Robert Parker in 2019 (RP95)
I sacrificed a bottle of the 2002 Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil from my own cellar to fill this gap in The Wine Advocate database and was interested to see that the wine has evolved a little since I last encountered it a couple of years ago. Subtle aromas of brioche, iodine and walnuts now inflect its bouquet of ripe lemon, green apple and crushed chalk, and on the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and powerful, with a fine mousse and considerable depth and dimension, concluding with a delicately chalky finish. This is an unusually ripe, muscular vintage of Salon, and my own palate tends to favor the brighter, more incisive vintages such as the 2007 or the 1996 at its best, but this is nonetheless a superb blanc de blancs that’s maturing a touch faster than I expected.
By Wine Spectator in 2014 (WS98)
IEthereal, with a refined, delicate mousse and a haunting array of flavors, from the vein of chalky minerality to ripe pastry fruit to a skein of spice and richer accents of spun honey, creamed almond and fleur de sel. The finely meshed acidity is racy and persistent, pushing the flavor range on the long, lacy finish. Lovely. Drink now through 2032.
By Burghound in 2015 (AM96)
2002 Brut “Le Mesnil” Blanc de Blancs: (from magnum). As I commented the last time I reviewed this from 750 ml, I was mystified by the (relatively) poor showing as Salon is almost always excellent and often genuinely great. This example, though I underscore that this review is from magnum rather than 750 ml, displayed a quality and character that were literally worthy of being described as a night and day difference. So, the review from magnum format is: A cool and pure nose features notes of citrus, in particular lemon rind, along with plenty of yeast, green apple, floral and iodine elements. The refined and intense middle weight flavors are shaped by an ultra-fine mousse that contributes to the sense of subtlety and finesse, all wrapped in a fantastically long and deep finish. Moreover, this is absolutely nowhere near being ready as the ’02 version of Salon is going to age for years, indeed my 2022+ estimate may very well be 5 years too early. Either way, this is an estimable vintage for one of my favorite wines.
By Vinous in 2014 (AG96+)
The 2002 Salon is utterly mesmerizing. I have tasted the 2002 six or seven times since its release and even during those two months or so the wine has developed quite dramatically, as some of the exuberance that was present at the outset has begun to recede, revealing the wine’s intense underlying minerality. The 2002 is a huge, dense wine loaded with fruit. All of the classic Salon citrus, slate and floral notes are present, but it is the wine’s superb textural richness that stands out most. Even though I have not followed my own advice, I suggest readers to plan on cellaring the 2002 for a good number of years. Because of its density and depth, I expect the 2002 will develop into a fairly exotic, voluptuous Champagne, within the context of Salon, of course. I also suggest keeping an eye out for the magnums, which are sure to disappear from the market pretty much the minute they arrive.