Champagne Lanson is the ninth largest house in Champagne, and certainly one of the richest in terms of history. Founded in 1760 by Francois Delamotte, the house became “Lanson” after the appointment of close family friend Jean-Baptiste Lanson to the helm of the company in the early 1800’s.
Second-generation owner Nicolas-Louis Delamotte, who was a Knight of the Order of Malta, introduced the Maltese cross logo of the brand.
In the early 1990’s, Lanson was purchased by Moet and Chandon. At that time, Lanson had a touch more than 200 hectares of vineyards. Just six months later, the house was on-sold by it’s new owners with only 2 hectares to its books. Such a brutal loss would kill most houses, but Lanson has since managed to claw back and expand its network of growers to become a key part of one of the largest companies currently in champagne; Lanson-BCC, which is second only to LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessy).
Lanson is not a widely popular champagne in Australia. This may be due to the brands seemingly value oriented pricing and lack of widespread distribution. A recent refresh of the bottle’s labelling style has given Black Label a significant boost in appeal, as does the placement of HRH the Queen’s seal of approval smack bang in the middle of the bottle.
In terms of value, Lanson sits somewhere between Piper Heidsieck and Mumm/Moet pricing, leaving it in a slightly awkward middle ground as value minded buyers will tend to opt for Piper, and others will tend to swing an extra $7-$12 for a more well-known label – especially for gifts. Is this position due to the public’s unsure perception of house’s quality? I am keen to investigate further.
From: Reims, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: $48 a bottle from Dan Murphy’s
Blend Ratio: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier: (50/35/15)
Aging: 3 Years minimum
Disgorged: 2014 (2011 Base Vintage)
Sipped: Early August 2016
In The Glass:
Look: A very nice soft golden colour with good translucence. Bubbles are strong with a nice, small size.
Smell: Lanson Black Label gives a nice soft fruity “bouquet”, blended with a bready and yeasty aroma.
Taste: Served chilled straight from the fridge, Lanson Black label arrives on your tastebuds with a soft foam flavoured with toasted honey and hints of fresh green apple, pear and lemon fruits. It is not overly sweet – it’s well balanced (it has 8g/L of sugar added per bottle) and the flavour rolls very well over the back of the tongue.
Lanson is not heavily acidic either, and migrates to dry favours in a subdued manner. The length of time it sits on your tongue is very good, and leaves a mellow touch of honey-sweet flavour on back of the roof of the mouth as well as on the tongue.
Notes: Lanson offers gift boxes for Black label as well as smaller bottle sizes for smaller occasions. The mid $40 region is becoming more and more populated with exciting options such as Mercier (LVMH) and Nicolas Feuillatte, it will be interesting to see how Lanson adapts.
Party Potential: I think that Lanson is certainly worth putting in the ice bucket for your next hosted party – if you would like a quality drink with decent value. It may be the next best thing if you are not after something as sweet as Piper Heidsieck. Lanson will be perfectly acceptable as your next BYO offering – and is well worth sharing out.
As a Gift: It would make a decent quality present for anyone if you are looking to spend sub-$50. They needn’t be a champagne buff and this would be an excellent introduction if they are unfamiliar with the drink. I would gift this to one of my friends on their birthday.
At Home: Use for a special occasion, such as having your family and friends over for dinner, or a nicely prepared in-house dinner date with your partner. It is notable that a Magnum (1.5L bottle) or black label can be ordered from Dan Murphy’s for $85 a bottle – excellent value and bucking the trend where Magnums increase in $ per ml (as magnums are said to produce better quality champagne when aging due to the volume). This makes it excellent Christmas lunch or NYE fare.
Matching: With a fantastic and lasting whole mouth finish, it makes a great match to light savoury foods – ideal for canapes service. On its own, the quality of the bottle I had was great, and when well chilled is capable of a star performance.
Score & Verdict:
Tasted: 2018 (7.75), 2016 (7.75)
Not the first one you notice as you introduce yourself to the group, but after you filter out other contender’s you discover a wonderful and classy package that is absolutely worth enjoying your time with again and again. You certainly won’t be regretting it (and neither will your wallet)!
At $48 I feel it is good value for the quality.
How did I drink it?
I enjoyed my bottle of Lanson on the day I bought my car!
How did you drink it?
And how did you find it? Let me know!
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