97 points from the Wine Spectator. Salon is one of the great names in Champagne for a very good reason. It is made only in great vintages (the decade of the eighties only produced '82,'83,'85 and '88) and only from grapes from one village, the grand cru of Mesnil. This village grows the most sought after Chardonnay in Champagne. Half of the vineyards that make the wine are owned by Salon outright, and the other half come from farmers that Salon has been working with for generations. The vines average 40 years of age. Salon suppresses malolactic fermentation for maximum freshness and longevity. The production hovers around 8,000 six-bottle cases, so the wine is always hard to come by but very worth seeking out! The 1990 has the richness of the '85 Salon with the zip and freshness of the '88. This wine is all dough and white flowers on the nose--complex but not daunting. It has a lot of stuffing, but it is very compact now. Very long finishing.
The House of Salon makes no other wine, only this rare vintage tête de cuvée blanc de blancs, with grapes hand-selected from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru vineyard in the Côte des Blancs. Since 1911, vintages have been declared no more than four times a decade. Aged en tirage for eight to ten years and hand-disgorged when a specific order is received, Salon is long and creamy in flavor, slowly revealing its wondrous and unique splendors. Salon's 1985, 1988, and 1990 vintages are among the most highly praised consecutive releases from a single Champagne house.
The 1990 vintage is only the 33rd vintage produced since the creation of the House of Salon in 1911. It is certainly one of the greatest vintages ever produced. The year began inauspiciously in the Côte des Blancs, with an early bud-break severely damaged by two frosts in April; forty-five percent of the vineyards were hit. June was wet and cold, resulting in further losses from coulure and millerandage. A miserable beginning, but as if to compensate, the remainder of the summer was glorious. Exceptional ripening conditions prevailed for the growing season, without cessation even through harvest. The harvest began on September 14th in Le Mesnil, with Chardonnay of unusual homogeneity and high acidity, promising greatness.
Salon 1990 tasting notes: The color is deep gold, with a fine and delicate mousse. An aromatic explosion of lemon, lime, and spices amidst very floral notes greets the nose and gives a freshness to the bouquet. The taste is structured, with an ever-present but not aggressive acidity, which will allow it to age far over twenty years. This wine melds seemingly impossible contradictions – ample yet delicate, creamy acidity, dense yet elegant.