Had a very enjoyable lunch today. It was the launch of Salon 1999 – the latest vintage from this remarkable Blanc de Blancs Champagne which comes from a single cru (Le Mesnil) and spends 10 years ageing on lees before disgorgement.
But rather than match this aristocratic fizz with a Michelin-starred menu, Corney & Barrow had the fun idea of launching Salon’s latest release with good old fish and chips, at Geales fish restaurant in Notting Hill – an upmarket yet traditional fish and chip joint. It was an inspired idea. Pictured above is Salon’s president, Didier Depond, with his lunch.
The combination was pretty good. Salon 1999 is a lovely Champagne, taut, concentrated and intense, with a mineral dimension as well as some richer toasty notes. ‘It’s like a teenager at the moment,’ says Depond. ‘Always very interesting, but a bit crazy. This will be perfect in five or ten years’ time.’ Depond says that Salon really does need its 10 years on lees, and that a couple of years ago he tried the 1999 and it was almost undrinkable. ‘In April we will release 10 000 bottles,’ he says of this disgorgement (October 2010), and then every six months 5000 further bottles will be disgorged. There are still 3000 bottles left undisgorged of the 1996 in Salon’s cellars.
1999 may not be Champagne’s greatest ever vintage, but this Salon is superb: a serious effort.
Here’s a short film of the lunch: