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THE TOP 100 COLLECTIBLE WINES

#38 - 2002 Salon

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Salon is one of the few single-minded producers in the world, and as a result, its Champagne vintages are always of the highest quality possible. This estate focuses solely on its Grand Cru Le Mesnil-sur-Oger grapes grown on a tiny 2.5-acre vineyard. When he founded the estate in the early 1900s, Eugene Aime Salon wanted to prove that Chardonnay grapes were all he needed to produce the best Champagne in the world, and he staunchly ignored the typical additions of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Salon champagnes are some of the rarest in the world, as the estate has only released 37 vintages since 1921.

Made from 100 percent Chardonnay, Salon Le Mesnil is made using the finest grapes harvested from the Le Mesnil-sur-Oger commune and Jardin de Salon. The Jardin represents only 1 hectare of land out of the 2.5 the estate employs for its wines, which come from about 20 separate growers in the region. Many of the vines on these estates are 40 years old or older, and its youngest vines are no newer than 25 years old. An average of about four vintages are released each decade in limited supply, with fewer than 60,000 bottles produced in years when the weather is ideal. Salon ages the wines in stainless steel vats, then lets the wine rest in bottles for at least 10 years.

The 2002 season resulted in about 500 cases of Salon Le Mesnil, as it had some of the finest growing conditions of the decade across Champagne. The spring brought on budding and few leaves, while the summer was warm and dry. In September, the weather remained dry, producing acidity levels that will allow this wine to age beautifully over the decades. The 2002 Salon Le Mesnil is one of the most sought-after and classic vintages of the past 20 years.