The 1996 Salon is just dazzling. It needs a good bit of air to fully open up, but the 1996 Salon is simply a mesmerizing Champagne that sizzles with energy, cut and total precision. A second bottle later in the week was every bit as compelling. When the 1996 Salon is on, it is just about as great as Champagne gets. Drink between 2017-2037.
|Score: 99||Antonio Galloni, Vinous Table (vinous.com), March 2018|
This bottle of the 1996 Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut was drinking superbly and represents the apotheosis of Blanc de Blancs, unfurling over the course of three hours with a stunningly complex bouquet of citrus oil, confit lemon, dried white flowers and oyster shell, with hints of praline and pastry cream becoming more pronounced as the wine opens up in the glass. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, defined by the incisive spine so typical of the vintage that, here, is cloaked in layers of crisp fleshy and chalky extract. The finish is long, penetrating and saline. Unfortunately, since the 1996 Salon has been traded so zealously over the last decade, finding a bottle that hasn't travelled too far can be a challenge. But from a perfectly stored bottle, this is just the beginning. 2019-2035
|Score: 99||William Kelley, Wine Advocate, August 2019|
1996 Brut “Le Mesnil” Blanc de Blancs: While many of the best ‘96s do remain impressively youthful, this seems to be stuck in a time capsule that brooks no change, at least not willingly! The ultra-elegant nose is clearly still developing and while there are background traces of apple, yeast and floral undertones in evidence, it is the citrus elements that presently dominate. The incredible refinement doesn’t stop with the nose however as the detailed and vibrant flavors are firm yet delicate with fine shadings of citrus, yeast and something vaguely akin to minerality that continues onto the pure, harmonious and driving finish that is bone dry but not austere. It’s hard to predict exactly when this might be at its best, though my sense is 5 to 7 years hence. Tasted twice recently with consistent results. 97/2021+
|Score: 97||Allen Meadows, Burghound.com (60), October 2015|
A deep, vinous style, with understated power and grace. The lemon verbena, toast and honey aromas and flavors are propelled by the well-integrated structure and fine bubbles. There's just a hint of greenness, marking its youthful impetuosity. Has great length. Best from 2010 through 2030. 840 cases imported
|Score: 95||Bruce Sanderson, WineSpectator.com, December 2007|