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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews
Lanson Bubblies - Superb Champagne (well mostly)

© Sue Courtney
Tasted 15 May 2001, posted June 2001

Hosted by Richard Goodman - the agency man, a Kiwi who now lives in Brisbane

Firstly we are told - "So your bubbly has no bubbles when it's poured in the glass". One of the problems could be that the glass is not spotlessly clean. It could look clean but there may be invisible traces of detergent. Solution. Clean glass by washing and rinsing in hot water with no detergent. Leave glass to dry on its own - if necessary rub with a towel. Bubbles should start surging in a steady stream when wine is poured. If not then, then scratch your glass with a 'diamond'.

Store Champagne standing up. Scientists reckon that with the pressure in the bottle there is enough vapour between the top of wine and bottom of cork to keep cork moist. (look up on Internet)

A bit of Lanson trivia - Lanson is the "Number 1" wine in Bangladesh - the only country in the world where it rates this position. But how much wine is in Bangladesh anyway. Evidently the Prime Minister orders two cases a year!

What makes Lanson different to other Champagnes? Answer: There is no malolactic fermentation process used in the making of the cuvée.

So to the tasting -

Lanson Black Label Champagne NV
Bready, vitamin-like aromas. Yeasty, creamy wine with reasonable acid and a steely, rich almost meaty finish. $54.95

Lanson Rose Champagne NV
Gold onion-skin colour. Yeasty, strawberry aromas. Seems slightly oxidised at first with very steely acidity. Very Good aperitif style. Atouch of florals and yeasty richness. Excellent weight. Strawberry lingers on finish, which is long and satisfying. The slight oxidation gives character. 50% pinot noir, 35% chardonnay and 15% pinot meunier. 18.5/20 $69.95

Lanson Vintage Champagne 1994 (gold label)
Bready aromas and sweet lemon bready flavours continue through to the palate with a light honeyed coating and the flavour of very fresh nuts emerging to linger with the lemom. Lovely full richness, perhaps from the 52% pinot noir in the cuvée which has spent five years on lees. I imagine this wine would be magnificient with a creamy blue cheese, to cut through that lovely acidity. Impressive wine. 18.5/20 $69.95

Lanson Vintage Champagne 1979 ex magnum (rose label)
Recently disgorged - 2 years ago, so has spent 20 years on lees. Rich lemon gold colour. Powerful, marmite and malt aroma. Creamy, oxidative (but not oxidised) style. Quite magnificient. Mellow and cheesy yet crisp and clean. "A Marmite and cheese sandwich with toffee" 18.5/20 (Not available).

All above wines are crisply acidic and clean but then we get to the Lanson Blanc de Blanc Vintage Champagne 1994 and the musty aromas indicate a 'corked' problem to me. However the company rep says it is OK, so it's ok, (but he had a pour out of our bottle and several of us thought something was wrong). Bready aromas emerge but the dull taste in the palate that supresses at first the rich lemon, that later emerges. The tasting notes says the wine has honey, so perhaps it is the honey that I am confusing with mustiness. Maybe I am not used to Prestige Cuvee. But whatever, for such a hyped and awarded wine, this sample was very disappointing and based on this tasting I would not pay $158.00 a bottle.

Lanson Noble Cuvee 1989
Very nutty, fine, dry, with hints of marmite yeastiness and a hint of earthiness. More earthy & stony than all the others. A complex slyle with floral pinot characteristics. One connoisseur says "a very fine Champagne". Another, a senior wine judge of many years, says "As good as Krug". I've not had the opportunity to taste Krug, so I take his word for it. It find it is a very balanced wine - there's beautiful acidity without being sharp - there's a lovely texture in mouth. Amazing fullness of flavour that lingers forever. Nutty, honeyed, floral, definitely some candy and strong yeast autolysis. It's another recently disgorged wine, having spent 10 years on lees. Excellent! 19/20 $170.

For the history of Lanson and other information about the company and the wines, go to the website:

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