Salon Le Mesnil : Among the rarest of all Champagnes. Vintners hyperchoosy about declaring vintages. Maintains amazing freshness.
"What changes as a top vintage Champagne matures ? One thing is the bouquet. "We divide the aromas in three stages," says Jean-Baptiste Cristini, of the venerable Champagne house Salon-Delamotte.
"The primary aromas of a young Champagne are fresh fruits and nuts. Bottle aging affects the yeast in the wine, bringing out the secondary aromas of bread baking and brioche. Finally, after many years, come the most passoniate and interesting aromas of all-the tertiaries."
Cristini pauses here, trying to parse the character of those elusive tertiaries: "They are mushroomy, truffley. Sometimes I'm eminded of white-truffle risotto with parmesam cheese."