Melon, yellow apple, white flowers and buttered toast on the fragrant nose and in the mouth. Round and fleshy on entry, then more taut in the mid-palate. Finishes stony and long, with good vivacity and a lingering floral note.
Champagne Lanson in Reims was founded in 1760 by Francois Delamotte, a property owner who wanted to start his own Champagne house. Because his son became a chevalier in the Knights of Malta, the house in the late 18th century began using the Maltese cross as the emblem for the label. The red, squared-off cross remains the icon of Champagne Lanson. By the mid-19th century the house was owned by the Lanson family, and it was so admired that Lanson Champagne became the official Champagne to the court of Queen Elizabeth of England. It was also the official Champagne of the principality of Monaco. Today the estate is owned by Boizel Chamnoine Champagne and produces five million bottles a year from grapes sourced throughout Champagne.
Champagne is a small, beautiful wine growing region northeast of Paris whose famous name is misused a million times a day. As wine enthusiasts and all French people are well aware, only sparkling wines produced in Champagne from grapes grown in Champagne can be called Champagne. Sparkling wines produced anywhere else, including in other parts of France, must be called something besides Champagne. Champagne producers are justifiably protective of their wines and the prestige associated with true Champagne. Though the region was growing grapes and making wines in ancient times, it began specializing in sparkling wine in the 17th century, when a Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon formulated a set guidelines to improve the quality of the local sparkling wines. Despite legends to the contrary, Dom Pérignon did not “invent” sparkling wine, but his rules about aggressive pruning, small yields and multiple pressings of the grapes were widely adopted, and by the 18th and 19th centuries Champagne had become the wine of choice in fashionable courts and palaces throughout Europe. Today there are 75,000 acres of vineyards in Champagne growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Champagne’s official appellation system classifies villages as Grand Cru or Premier Cru, though there are also many excellent Champagnes that simply carry the regional appellation. Along with well-known international Champagne houses there are numerous so-called “producer Champagnes,” meaning wines made by families who, usually for several or more generations, have worked their own vineyards and produced Champagne only from their own grapes.