Salon to release zero dosage Champagne23rd April, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt
Champagne Salon is to release a zero dosage expression of its 2002 vintage for customers of London’s Sketch restaurant only.
The Champagne, which sees no sugar added at disgorgement, will be served to diners by the glass alongside Salon 2002 with its conventional dosage of 5.5 g/l, allowing Sketch customers to compare the fizz with different sugar levels.
According to Rebecca Palmer, associate director and buyer at Corney & Barrow, which is the exclusive distributor of Salon in the UK, this is the first time the 100% Chardonnay Champagne has been released outside its cellars without a dosage.
However, Salon president Didier Depond was persuaded by Sketch wine director Fred Brugues to allow the restaurant to pour the non-dosé Champagne.
According to Palmer, Brugues is particularly keen on zero dosage Champagne, and records a growing market for the driest style of Champagne at Sketch, as well as blanc de blancs.
“He’s mad for non-dosé Champagne… he’s a purist,” she said.
As a result, Palmer said Salon and Sketch were collaborating to do a “very special by the glass deal with two Salons side by side,” in an attempt to educate their customers about different Champagne styles.
To prevent confusion, the Champagnes will be served in Salon branded Zalto flutes – with one marked “Salon dosé” and the other “Salon non-dosé”.
Diners will be able to try the two Champagnes from mid-May for a “limited period” said Palmer, who added, “if it’s successful we will do it again”.
Before committing to the project however, Palmer told db that Salon had sent to Sketch two bottles of Salon with the different dosages to ensure that the Champagne without any added sugar didn’t suffer from any loss of freshness and fruit in transit.
“Salon has never been shipped in this state before so we did a dry run, and couriered two bottles side by side, before getting the whole team at Sketch to try them,” said Palmer.
Having tasted both Champagnes, Palmer described the difference as “extraordinary”.
As previously reported by db, just 62,000 bottles have been made of the 2002 Salon, which was launched by Corney & Barrow in early March with an opening offer of £1,325 per six-bottle case in bond.
Palmer said that Corney & Barrow had made an extra effort with this launch to allocate more stock to restaurants.
“Salon is very rare and while it would be easy to allow it to sell out, I hate the idea of it languishing in private customers’ cellars, so we’ve been very deliberate this year in making sure we’ve kept back stocks for the on-trade.”
Continuting she said, “I think it’s in the interests of Salon in the longer term to be out there, to be accessible – and Salon want the wine to be seen”.