Rare in the world of wine can have varying connotations.
It's rare to find a chardonnay from California that is well balanced, when you do, it's rare. Domaine de la Romannée Conti is rare. A 1961 Chateau Petrus (original not Roedenstock) is rare. And in the glitzy world of champagne rare is a vintage from the famed House of Salon. First produced for friends and family back in 1921 the house has only declared a vintage 37 times since then. With a production of less than 4,200 cases per vintage this is about as rare a champagne as you can find. At a recent Christie's auction a single bottle of 1988 sold for five times the estimate. That's rare.
I have no knowledge of what the wine tastes like - I have never been offered a glass nor have I ever found a bottle lying on a retailer's shelf. I have occasionally seen it on-line but when called, the seller made a mistake - 'we don't have it anymore' - likely story, chances are they never did.
The most recent vintage made by Salon is 1999 - to my knowledge they did not declare a vintage since. Each vintage is classically made in the time-honored tradition from grapes sourced from vineyards in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. This tiny little village has, for centuries, been the font of the greatest chardonnay vines in champagne. The Krug, Clos de Mesnil is uber-famous, so too the few other houses fortunate enough to have relationships with the farmers who own this strip of earth. Salon own 2.5 acres of this rare earth - they call it Jardin de Salon. From this site and vineyards along the Mesnil strip, Salon gather their grapes and disappear into their caves. Ten years after they pressed the grape and made the juice and bottled it then and only then will they release it. Most customers have been a client of the House of Salon for decades - an inheritance passed down by generations. They are the lucky ones - the ones who can own a rarity.
When I returned from the trade show in Italy I spent the next few days sorting out the paperwork and reading through the e-mails. One caught my attention but I will admit it looked like one of those Nigerian Get Poor Quick e-mails. The e-mail offered me Salon, Banc des Blanc, Le Mesnil 1999. But wait...there's more! The offering was for magnums. I researched it a bit but I always knew I was going to buy it. I did and it actually arrived - in its original wooden case. Inside the bottle was pristine and the accompanying literature was all original - I have checked.
So now my offer is this. I can't promise that I can get any more but I am willing to try. If anyone reading this is interested in owning a piece of history, a bottle that if cellared correctly can last at least another 20+ years, a rarity amongst all the dross that's out there, then let me know. If I can I will buy more. The cost will be $750 per magnum, but there are no guarantees. I can guarantee that the wine is direct, ex-cellars to the US importer and it has not been moved from their warehouses since arrival in this country.
I'm going to put mine in a dark corner of my cellar and forget about it...for a few weeks at least. Then I'll spend years trying to figure out when to open it and who to drink it with!
E-mail me if you want to buy a bottle or two, or a case! We can but try to buy a rarity.
Wine at Five. 914-921 5950