Lanson Gold Label 1999
I had the pleasure of trying the Lanson Gold Label 1999 the other day while I was in Champagne with the CIVC.
Lanson is well known for their non-vintage champagnes but their lesser known vintage wines are the ones to wait for. Lanson makes their wine in a different style to many of the grandes marques in that they don’t let their base wines go through malolactic fermentation. To make a long story short, malo (as it’s known) is the process where the malic acids of the wine – commonly associated with green apple flavours is converted into lactic acid by means of usually innoculating the wine with lactic bacteria and allowing the malic acid to be converted to lactic acid. Lactic acid gives wine a rounder mouthfeel and buttery, creamy and bread or yeast notes.
Well, Lanson will have none of that and so their wines can often be tart and acidic when young. However, they don’t do malo because they want their wines to age for a considerable time and if you have plenty of that malic acid, the wine can retain it’s freshness and vibrancy for much longer. And that is the beauty of their vintage wines. If you give them a decade or longer, they really begin to come into their own.
The Lanson Gold Label is a 50/50 blend roughly of chardonnay and pinot noir but depending on vintage, they can have different percentages of each. “Vintage” in Champagne means that all the wines used in the blend must come from the same year.
Pouring the wine, aromas of pears, ripe green apples and a baked bread notes coming from the glass. On the palate, still very youthful, lots of tiny bubbles assailing my nose and a creamy lemon finish. Definitely a champagne that could be enjoyed by itself as an aperitif or possibly pan seared chicken with a creamy mushroom sauce. Hmmm, I’m hungry and very thirsty now….
One of the best things about this Champagne is the price. It’s rare to find vintage champagne at such a reasonable price. It’s widely available in the UK for less then £40 – a real bargain when you consider then many non-vintage champagnes can cost just as much.