Top 10 biggest Champagne brands 2016

9. Lanson

lanson-black-label

Lanson sells 4.2 million bottles annually

Label: Lanson Black Label Brut Non-Vintage
Blend (approx.): 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier
Reserve wine (%): 30 (minimum)
Lees ageing (months): 36 (minimum)
Dosage (g/l): 8
MLF: Predominantly blocked
Price (RRP, UK): £30
Size (approx. annual sales, 2015): 4.2 million bottles
Cellar master: Hervé Dantan

Lanson has undoubtedly enjoyed a more golden era since the brand was acquired by the family-owned Boizel Chanoine Group, bringing it under the control of Philippe Baijot, and creating a new company: Lanson-BCC.

The Lanson message has been firmly focused on the fact its Champagnes don’t go through the malo-lactic fermentation, which sees malic acid present in the grape must, which has a sharp taste, converted to milder lactic acid by the successive action of various bacteria.

As a result, Lanson’s best selling cuvée: the Black Label Brut NV, has a natural freshness and is heralded for its long ageing capacity, something the house began to emphasise strongly with the launch of the Lanson Extra Age in 2009 – a multi-vintage blend which spends an additional three years ageing on its lees in Lanson’s cellars (for instance, Lanson Extra Age Brut currently comprises a blend of wines from the 2002, 2004, and 2005 harvests).

lanson-extra-age-rose

Lanson launched Extra Age in 2009 – a multi-vintage blend which spends an additional three years ageing on its lees

The Black Label has undergone some evolutions since Lanson’s acquisition by BCC, most notably a longer period spent ageing on its lees, as well as a slight drop in dosage.

However, further quality evolutions will be seen in future releases because in 2014 Lanson fermented its first wines in a new winery following a €15 million investment. The updated facility includes smaller vats for more precision in the blending process, as well as 23 large oak vats to bring an extra “creaminess” to the Black Label, according to the cellar master, Hervé Dantan.

Among other quality evolutions for Lanson Brut NV, Dantan told db would be upping the period of time the Champagne rests post-disgorgement to a minimum of six months, around double the standard time for a big brand Brut NV.

Surprisingly, he also said that he would now allow a small proportion of the reserve wines for Lanson’s Black Label to undergo malolactic fermentation (MLF), despite the brand’s long history of blocking the conversion. This, he said, was to bring a “roundness” to the Champagne, although he stressed that no more than 5% of the blend would ever go through the MLF, and the house would retain its naturally fresh style.

It should also be noted that Lanson Black Label is the only Brut NV among the top 10 biggest sellers to print disgorgement dates on its back labels.

New products from the brand include a special version of the Black Label Brut NV for the UK on-trade called Lanson Père et Fils. The Champagne has a different look, and does away with the gold elements to the packaging found on the Black Label, while the new product spends a year longer on the lees and comes with a dosage of 6g/l, at least 3g/l lower than the Black Label.

Furthermore, the first vintage of Clos de Lanson was unveiled in April this year using fruit from the 2006 harvest from a one-hectare plot in the centre of Reims – the only vineyard left within the walls of the city.

It was the first single vineyard Champagne from the house, and it is an addition to the range instigated by Philippe Baijot, current CEO and president of Champagne Lanson, after its acquisition by Boizel Chanoine Champagne Group in 2006.

Lanson does not produce an Extra Brut or Brut Nature Champagne, however, similar to Moët, which has the sweeter Ice Impérial housed in a white bottle, Lanson unveiled a sec style White Label with a 32 g/l dosage packaged in a white bottle back in 2013.

Brand owner: Lanson-BCC
Head office: 66 Rue de Courlancy, 51573, Reims Cedex 2, France
Tel: +33 326 785 050
Website: lanson.fr
Product range: Lanson Black Label Brut NV, Lanson Rose Label Brut Rosé NV, Lanson Père et Fils, Lanson Gold Label Brut Vintage, Lanson Ivory Label Demi-Sec, Lanson White Label Sec, Lanson Extra Age Brut NV, Lanson Extra Age Rosé Brut NV, Noble Cuvée Blanc de Blancs, Noble Cuvée Brut, Nobel Cuvée Rosé Brut, Clos de Lanson

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