The Peak (Malaysia) - - High Spirits -

Di­dier De­pond, Pres­i­dent of Cham­pagne Sa­lon and Cham­pagne De­lam­otte, tells ThePeak about run­ning two of the world’s most ex­clu­sive cham­pagne brands. Di­dier De­pond has a prob­lem, al­beit one that any head of a com­pany would love to have. As Pres­i­dent of Cham­pagne Sa­lon, De­pond is con­stantly in­un­dated by re­quests for this most ex­clu­sive and il­lus­tri­ous cham­pagne. “We are a vin­ta­geonly house and each vin­tage is lim­ited to 60,000 bot­tles, which is re­leased over three years,” he ex­plains. With th­ese num­bers – 20,000 bot­tles for the world mar­ket each year – it’s in­evitable that many would be dis­ap­pointed. As De­pond says: “Af­ter a while, you learn how to say, no, sorry, maybe next year…”

Founded in 1911, Sa­lon has, so far, only re­leased 40 vin­tages, the lat­est of which, 2006, ap­peared last year. Its qual­ity and ex­clu­siv­ity has made it one of the most pres­ti­gious and soughtafter cham­pagnes. Yet, it would be fair to say that Sa­lon is hardly a house­hold name com­pared to its more-well com­peti­tors. “France pro­duces about 300 mil­lion bot­tles of cham­pagne a year, and Sa­lon is just a tiny bub­ble in the cham­pagne pro­duc­tion,” De­pond ex­plains. “We’re not a mass brand and, with all re­spect to the other houses, we have no in­ter­est in be­com­ing that.”

Of course, even if De­pond wanted to, there’s no way that Sa­lon can in­crease its pro­duc­tion. “Our house is the vi­sion of our founder, Aimé Sa­lon, who wanted to pro­duce a con­nois­seur’s cham­pagne,” De­pond says. It was Aimé Sa­lon who con­ceived the blanc de blancs (‘white from whites’) style of cham­pagne and es­tab­lished the house’s phi­los­o­phy of sin­gu­lar­ity. “It was Aimé Sa­lon who de­cided that we only pro­duce blanc de blancs cham­pagne, made en­tirely from Chardon­nay grown in a small vil­lage, Le Mes­nil-sur- Oger (lo­cated in the Côte des Blancs sub­re­gion of Cham­pagne), which is con­sid­ered the best part in that re­gion for Chardon­nay,” he says.

The grapes are from a one-hectare par­cel owned by the house as well as 19 other smaller parcels in Le Mes­nil­sur- Oger, cho­sen by Aimé Sa­lon at the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury. Not all years’ pro­duc­tion, how­ever, make the cut; those that do – the vin­tages – are cel­lared in the bot­tle for a

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