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Celebrate Champagne Day With Champagne Lanson

October 28, 2022 Leave a comment

Ooh, another wine holiday I almost missed – Champagne Day, celebrated on the 4th Friday in October. Not that I need a reason to open a bottle of wine, but a wine holiday offers an opportunity to reflect on a specific wine subject, which is always a fun exercise.

My personal Champagne journey was long and rocky (still going). Growing up on a sweet concoction called “sovertskoe shampanskoe” (still have no idea if it is made out of grapes), the profound acidity with no sweetness is not something that one can quickly and gleefully embrace. And the price… And then the French obnoxiously insisting that Champagne can only come from Champagne, phew… Lots of things to get over…

I had a few key learning experiences along the way. First, about 20 years ago, there was a blind tasting of the Champagnes during Windows on the World wine classes, where I learned that liking Dom Perignon, or any other vintage Champagne when you are not influenced by the label is not obvious. Then about 12 years ago, there was PJ Wine Grand tasting in New York, where the first taste of vintage (and even non-vintage) Krug became a proverbial nail on the head and a pivotal moment of discovering the true pleasure of Champagne. And I have to mention an encounter with 2002 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill Champagne about 6 years ago (the wine ended up being my 2016 wine of the year) – I spent about 10 minutes simply enjoying the aroma of the wine before even daring to take a sip. Yes, I can safely say that I love Champagne.

Okay, let me be careful here. I love Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I love Rioja. Yes, I love Champagne. However, this is not a blanket statement. I love the category but within the category, the “love” concept is very particular. There are 10-12 specific Rioja producers and brands that I love, and the rest of the Riojas don’t excite me even for a second. It is the same story with Champagne – there are a few producers that I love and respect, and then there are quite a few I don’t care for. But I’m always willing to learn, taste, and discover something new.

Talking about discovery, I need to share with you my latest Champagne discovery – Champagne Lanson.

Founded in 1760, Champagne Lanson is one of the oldest Champagne Houses. From the moment it was created, Lanson’s focus was always on foreign markets. By the late 19th century, Lanson was supplying champagne by royal appointment to the courts of the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Japan. It still remains the main Champagne supplier to the British royal family. It is also official champagne of Wimbledon tennis tournaments since 2001. Today, Lanson Champagne is exported to 80 countries.

Lanson has close relationships with the growers, having access to more than 100 vineyards throughout Champagne, 50% of which are Grand Crus and Premier Crus. Lanson also cultivates more than 140 acres of its own vineyards, out of which 40 acres are farmed organically and biodynamically.

What I’m looking for in Champagne is precision. My ideal champagne has perfectly persistent energetic bubbles, toasted bread aromas on the nose maybe with a touch of yeast and even gunflint, the same toasted bread notes on the palate, maybe a hint of an apple, and a perfect balance of fruit, acidity, and structure on the palate. Balance is a king for any wine, Champagne not excluded.

I had an opportunity to try 3 of the Lanson Champagnes, and they all didn’t disappoint.

NV Lanson Le Black Label Brut Champagne (12.5% ABV, $50, 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier) had perfectly persistent fine mousse, toasted bread aromas on the nose, and crisp, precise and refreshing palate. Some of the best bubbles have this captivating effect – once you take a sip, you can’t wait to take another – this was this Champagne Lanson.

NV Lanson Le Rosé Champagne (12.5% ABV, $70, 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier) showed very similarly on the nose, with toasted notes and a hint of floral undertones. On the palate, it was a bit more feminine than the previous wine, still crispy, but softer and more round, with the addition of a touch of strawberry. Absolutely delightful.

And yet NV Lanson Le Green Label Organic Champagne (12.5% ABV, $75, 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay) was my favorite of the 3. Precision and energy. Vibrant and raw, this Champagne simply over-delivered – ultra-precise bubbles, energy, finesse and balance. Superb.

Talking about precision – Champagne Lanson eliminates the need for you to guess. Take a look at these back labels:

Harvest year, disgorgement date, all the technical details if you care to know them – everything is presented, simply and clearly. You don’t need to guess for how long that bottle of Champagne had been waiting for you on the shelf? With Lanson, just take a look at the back label, and you already know.

Here is my offering to you – beautiful Lanson champagne which now will join my “favorites” ranks. The Champagne that will make any celebration seem brighter.

Have you had Champagne Lanson before? What are your favorite Champagnes? Happy Champagne Day! Cheers!

Champagne, Champagne, Champagne for Everyone!

October 23, 2020 1 comment

Yes, I issued the call for Champagne. And no, it is not because of the Friday night, lottery winning, huge job promotion, or an official ending of the COVID-19. Today, October 23rd, 2020 is the official celebration of the bubbles that became synonymous with success and life’s happy moments – today we celebrate Champagne, a quintessential celebration itself.

My appreciation for Champagne came long after wine became an obsession. I grew up drinking sweet bubbles of unknown pedigree under the name of “Soviet Champagne” – who would care about naming rights back then. So the first encounter with crisp, tiny, and ultra-acidic bubbles was not love at first sight. It is interesting that how I can’t name a pivotal wine, but I can easily name a pivotal Champagne – Krug Vintage, I don’t remember if it was 2002, 2003, or 2004, but that encounter with greatness during PJ Wine grand tasting in New York absolutely changed my perspective on the Champagne. And if you care to know, I even have my favorite Champagne of all times – 2002 Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill – pure magic.

Today, sparkling wines are produced everywhere. All countries, all types of grape (sparkling Tannat? no problems. Sparkling Shiraz? of course!), and literally all wineries. There are absolutely stunning bubbles produced in Italy (Franciacorta, Trentodoc), Spain, and the USA (if you ever had Roederer L’Ermitage or late disgorged Gloria Ferrer, you know what I’m talking about). But today, it is all about Champagne, in its pure form.

Champagne also has the capability of bonding the memories – as it is often linked to the special moments, just seeing that bottle of Perrier-Jouët, Cristal, Dom Perignon, or Bollinger can trigger the onslaught of happy thoughts. True, any wine can do this, but Champagne has some special powers.

In recognition of the holiday, I’m offering you a collage of some of my Champagne experiences:

I also can’t miss an opportunity to mention the sabering – opening of the Champagne bottle with a special sword, the saber (hence the name). Sabering has some ground rules and requires basic skills – it can be done with the saber, but it is even more fun to use a random object, such as a wine glass, a stapler, or an iPhone – but this should be a conversation for another time. Sabering or not, but the opening of the Champagne bottle often goes wrong – and I want to leave you today with a little compilation of such, well, accidents.

One of my favorite quotes of all times is not about Champagne, but about life – in the words of the singer Pitbull, “every day above ground is a great day”. Don’t wait for a special occasion – open that Champagne bottle today – as the present should always be celebrated.

Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Global Champagne Day, Dishcrawl SoNo, Tempranillo Day and more

October 23, 2013 6 comments
Arrayán Petit Verdot, Spain

Arrayán Petit Verdot, Spain

Meritage time!

Let’s start from the answer to the wine quiz #78, grape trivia – Petit Verdot. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions regarding the red grape called Petit Verdot. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Explain the meaning of the name Petit Verdot

A1: Petit Verdot stands for the “little green”, as a reference to the small size of the grapes and the tendency to retain green (underripe) grapes even at the harvest time

Q2: Name four grapes, main blending partners of Petit Verdot in France

A2: We are talking about classic Bordeaux five here, the blending partners of Petit Verdot are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec

Q3: True or False: Australia’s plantings of Petit Verdot far exceed the plantings of Petit Verdot in France

A3: True. Australia embraced Petit Verdot starting from the second half of the 18th century, increasing its plantings, where Petit Verdot plantings in France had being on the downturn for a while.

Q4: While Petit Verdot is a difficult grape to work with, two events were major contributors to the demise of Petit Verdot in Bordeaux. Can you name those two events?

A4: Phylloxera epidemic in the late 1800s and the frost of 1956. As a difficult to grow and not essential grape, Petit Verdot followed the path of Malbec, with a dramatic reduction in plantings after the cataclysmic events.

Q5: While it is not impossible to find a pure 100% Petit Verdot wines made in Bordeaux, those wines are rather the exceptions. What is the typical percentage of Petit Verdot in Bordeaux blends?

A5: It is very often 1% to 2%, and in general stays under 5%. There are exceptions, of course.

Bonus question: what was your personal encounter with Petit Verdot? Do you have any memorable bottles?

Australia, Spain and [interestingly enough] Long Island, New York come to mind when I think of single-grape Petit Verdot bottlings. Some of the wines were just purely spectacular, like 2007 Jamesport Petit Verdot  from Long Island, or this 2007 Arrayán Petit Verdot from Spain.

I’m glad to report that we had a good participation in the quiz, and most importantly, we have a lot of winners! Patrick Kleiner (who has no web site), the drunken cyclist and Vino in Love are all correctly answered all 5 questions, so they are our ultimate winners and get unlimited bragging rights. Well done! I also want to mention Duff’s Wines and Eat with Namie as they both made only minor mistakes and got about 4.5 correctly out of 5, so they both get an honorable mention.

Now, to the interesting stuff around the web and the vine!

I don’t have much of the interesting reads for you today, so it is mostly various events announcements.

First, don’t forget that Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #4 (#MWWC4) is in its final hours  – it ends today, on October 23rd. The theme is “oops” – send your submission over to TheWineKat, and best to do it on Twitter with the hash tag #MWWC4.

Next, it appears that this coming Friday, October 25th, is a Global Champagne Day 2013 (I’m sure TheDrunkenCyclist is oozing with joy :- ) ). You have an option of finding a good place to celebrate in style, or just crack open whatever sparking goodness your heart desires, and celebrate the celebration drink!

While you still have time to get ready, don’t miss the International Tempranillo Day coming up on November 14th. There are plenty of Tempranillo events happening all over the country, and the good Tempranillo bottle is so easy to find nowadays, you have no excuse to miss this celebration.

Last but not least, at least for the local Connecticut foodies, Dishcrawl event is for South Norwalk (SoNo) will take place on November 20th. Based on my recent dining experiences in South Norwalk, this event shouldn’t be missed! For more details and to get your tickets, please visit Dishcrawl site.

That is all I have for you for today. The glass is empty – but refill is on the way. Until the next time – cheers!

Yes! (a short and happy post)

October 27, 2012 17 comments

If anyone of you read my profile on twitter, you probably saw a mention of the martial arts. I’m practicing Taekwondo, and today I had my so called “tip test”. Yes, I passed the test, and got a green tip:

Now I “only” need to get five more tips (purple, blue, brown, red and black), and then I will be able to attempt the next big test. I guess if I would be 20 or 25, that probably would be “okay, great, whatever” kind of feeling (or not), but as I’m a bit older, and this stuff doesn’t come easy (I have a problem, people – my knees seriously hate me), so it feels great. Anyway, that’s done, and I’m happy.

While it is technically very early Saturday on the East coats, it is still Friday in may places in US – and this Friday, October 26th was 3rd annual Champagne Day (#ChampagneDay in Twitter terms). The way to celebrate #ChampagneDay is to open a bottle of Champagne and talk about it. Problem is, I generally don’t stock up on Champagne, so I didn’t have a bottle to open (and was publicly ostracized by thedrunkedcyclist, who really is in love with Champagne). As I wanted to honor the noble wine at least in some way, I decided to go for deconstructed Champagne:

Yes, this is the bottle of Burgundy and not Champagne, but this means that the wine is made from the grape which is a part of many Champagne wines – Pinot Noir, hence it is qualified for the “deconstructed Champagne” play.

This 2004 Domaine Dennis Carre Savigny-les-Beaune was exactly the type of Pinot Noir I love – light, smokey and earthy, with the light cherries profile, perfectly balanced with fruit , tannins and acidity, the wine with finesse and elegance. Drinkability: 8+

That’s all I wanted to share with you. Happy Friday (or may be already Saturday) to you. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #GrenacheDay, #ChampagneDay, WTSO Full-On and more

September 19, 2012 15 comments
Get wine with free shipping on 12 bottles or more.

Meritage Time!

So, what do you think of Wine Quiz #29, A Guessing Game? I now understand that I goofed up with my logic (not the first time; sigh) and the way second question was asked implied the answer for the first – so I definitely have a room for improvement. I still hope it was fun, and – we have a winner!

Both reviews included into the post were for the same wine, 2001 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial – the first one was written by Robert Parker, and second was Stephen Tanzer’s review. And the winners are (drumroll, please) whineandcheersforwine and thedrunkencyclist – both were able to correctly answer all three questions including the bonus part. Well done! As a side note, this is one of the best Rioja wines you can find for the money – it will cost you between $25 and $30, it drinks perfectly now, and will be for the next 20-30 years.

And now let’s move on to the interesting news section.

On October 2nd, the greatest purveyor of the QPR wines, Wine Til Sold Out, says “Make room in your cellars”, and I say “hold on to your wallets” – Full-On Marathon is coming. Starting at 6 AM Eastern time, WTSO will be offering wines staring from $15.99 and going all the way into the hundreds of dollars. The event will end at midnight on the same day. Knowing WTSO, this will be one amazing event which will put your family finances in a grave danger – but if anything, it will be fun to watch!

I almost missed it (changing the post after it was out) – International #GrenacheDay is coming on Friday, September 21st! There is not much time left – find that Grenache bottle and get ready to celebrate!

Champagne lovers, your special day is coming! 3rd annual #ChampagneDay will be celebrated through all social media outlets on October 25th – you can find your invitation here. You have enough time to be well prepared – start thinking about that special bottle.

There is an interesting debate going in regarding the actual state of the wine blogging – best of the best are trying to figure out if it is dead or alive (as I’m writing this post, I would consider it quite alive, but what do I know…). Here are couple of viewpoints: Joe Roberts, a.k.a. 1WineDude, and Steve Heimoff. If you have an opinion – write a blog post, join the debate!

Last but not least, St. Emilion region in Bordeaux has a new classification – you can read more about it here in Dr. Vino’s blog post.

We are done here – the glass is empty – for the moment, of course. Cheers!

Celebrating Global #ChampagneDay

October 29, 2011 1 comment

Yesterday the world of wine social media celebrated 2nd Global Champagne Day, honoring one of the most special beverages – French Champagne. Here is how we celebrated it:

Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV was good, but not special in any way – nice fresh creamy bubbles, good acidity (Drinkability: 7). Louis Roederer makes one of the most famous Champagne in the world – Cristal, but this one of course was a standard non vintage version.

Champagne Chartogne -Taillet Cuvee Sainte-Anne, a growers champagne,  was outstanding – yeasty, with a lot of fresh bread and toasted apple notes, refreshing and complex at the same time – this was not a simple thirst quencher, but a thought provoking wine. (Drinkability: 8).

How did you celebrate the Celebration Wine?

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