Without any doubt, Lanson is one of the best known and most recognised Champagne brands in the UK, and indeed the world. Ten years ago, it was the number 2 brand, behind the indomitable Moet & Chandon, however, the highly competitive market and aggressive marketing campaigns by other top brands, have pushed it further down the charts, although it stays in the top 10, with its current number 9 position. However it holds the top position in the Rose market, with its Lanson Rose brand, and has been the nation’s favourite Rose Champagne for a number of years.
Lanson have focussed on maintaining the quality of their production and reputation, in order to maintain the integrity of the brand.
Lanson, amongst all Grande Marques Champagnes, is unique in one aspect of its style of production, which is that it avoids malolactic fermentation – this keeps the acidity levels higher in the wine, and gives a livelier, fresh, zesty style of Champagne, which ages well and keeps its freshness. Lanson also mature all their Champagnes for at least twice the legal requirement, to ensure that they are at optimum drinking condition when they are released.
What’s The Background To Lanson?
The house of Lanson was established in 1760, set up by a local magistrate, Francois Delamotte and initially named Maison Delamotte. It was the 3rd Champagne house established, and like others, focussed, in the early days of gaining royal and ministerial approval at home and especially abroad, at both the English and the Russian courts.
The famous ‘Maltese cross’ on the label of every bottle of Lanson was created as far back as 1798, when Louis-Nicolas Delamotte, son of the founder, and a Knight of the Order of Malta, took over the company. The name of the company changed to ‘Lanson et fils’ in 1837, 9 years after Delamotte had gone into partnership with business man Jean-Baptiste Lanson.
Above all others, the focus on the English market was at the heart of the company, with one of the first ever ‘agent contracts’ being set up with an English wine supplier in 1882. Shortly afterwards, Lanson was awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria and has been an official provider of Champagne to the English court ever since.
Over subsequent years, Lanson continued its focus on the international markets, with Belgium, Germany, Norway and Spain increasingly important, and simultaneously built on its reputation for top quality vintage wines, following its triumphant 1904 vintage. With increasing wealth, Lanson purchased in 1926 ‘Clos Lanson’, what is now the only vineyard within the walls of the city of Reims, and the current company headquarters are now based there, with kilometres of chalk cellars running beneath the building.
In the years just preceding the war, great grandson Victor Lanson, created the now famous ‘Black label’, and continued to develop the international reputation of the wine, as far as the states. In the post war years, the high profile continued, with Lanson being served at state banquets and celebrations by royalty and presidents in France, England and the US.
In more recent years, Lanson launched its unique Noble Cuvee, followed by Noble Cuvee Rose in 2004. The turn of the millennium had been especially successful, with sales of over 8 million bottles of the brand.
In 2006 Lanson merged with Champagne Boizel Chanoine. The company continues its focus on heritage, tradition and quality in its marketing strategy today.
What Styles Of Wine Does Lanson Make?
Lanson Black Label NV - the house style, made from around 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and the remainder Pinot Meunier, mainly from top vineyards. With the Lanson trademark of no malolactic fermentation, the style is fresh, lively, and lifted with a racy edge.
Lanson Pink Label, Rose NV - delicately pale, and deliciously fruity, this top selling Rose is lively, red berry scented, balanced Rose, with elegance and style.
Lanson White Label NV - a slightly off-dry style, with over 38% Chardonnay in the blend, to provide a softer, creamier style. It has a lively fruitiness, and freshness, with a round, smooth style.
Lanson Ivory Label NV - a sweeter, richer style of Champagne, with a higher ‘dosage’, this is known as ‘demi-sec’ Champagne; with a high proportion of Pinot Noir in the blend, it’s a rich, fruity, spice style.
Lanson Gold Label Vintage - a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from top ‘crus’ vineyards, this is a classic expression of Lanson style, made only in the very best years, and still without malolactic fermentation, which means that the wine will continue to age and maintain freshness for longer.
Lanson Noble Cuvee Vintage - the classic expression of the Lanson style, this Champagne, in its replica of an old 18th century shaped bottle, is only made from grapes from the very best vineyards in the very best years; from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir only, and aged for at least 5 years, it’s exquisite, complex, and refined.
Lanson Noble Cuvee rose - with a similar ethos to the noble cuvee, but made predominantly from the softer, creamier Chardonnay, this rose is aged for 5 years, and has to be the ultimate in stylish romance Champagnes, with its ethereal berry fruit, and silky elegance.
Lanson Noble Cuvee Blanc de Blancs Vintage - a superbly stylish and exclusive Champagne, made entirely from Chardonnay, carefully selected and handpicked from the very best vineyards in the Cote des blancs; no malolactic fermentation, just freshness, creaminess, and a soft, voluptuous, yet vibrantly fresh style.
Lanson Extra Age Brut - created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the house, this unique blend was designed to showcase the style of the house, and its rich, complexity reveals the quality of the 1999, 2002 and 2003 vintage wines that were used in its creation. Lanson also released a Pinot Noir dominant Lanson Extra Age brut Rose.