I just had the pleasure to taste the new Lanson Black Réserve champagne with Chef de Cave Hervé Dantan and, well, spot on!

Hervé created this new cuvée on his arrival at Lanson in 2013 to add to the revised range of champagnes a gastronomic wine that would combine freshness, complexity, and fulness. 

What I found was a Balck Label on steroids. A brilliant one! 

When I first looked at the bottle, I doubted it could be a re-labeled Extra Age Brut–a glorious champagne that I loved and that Lanson decided to discontinue–given that the (beautiful) bottles are the same. Shame on me for thinking ill, because it is not. 

It is rather the sublimation of the Black Label cuvée, via better grapes, longer aging, and lesser dosage. The assemblage is indeed the same in terms of grapes, but here there is a greater portion of grands and premiers crus, making up the majority of this brilliant cuvée. And the amount of reserve wines it’s even higher than in Black Label. 

Herve Dantan Lanson
Herve Dantan with his latest babies. From left: Black Label (2015 base), Black Réserve (2014 base), and Blanc de Blancs (2014 base)

Blend

Crus: 100 different crus, of which 70% of grands and premiers crus 

Pinot Noir: 50%, including Vernzenay and Bouzy

Chardonnay: 35%, inclduing Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize, Trépail Villers-Marmery  

Pinot Meunier: 15%

Reserve wines: 45%, of which some aged in oak casks

Aging: 5 years (base 2014)

Dosage: 7 g/l

Tasting Notes

Eye: captivating deep yellow

Nose: beautiful honey notes, which made me suspect a due generosity in the wine. Pears, almonds, biscuits, mild spices and licorice. Woooooo….

Palate: So much richness for a relatively young champagne, but held in line by the marked crispness given by the avoidance of malolactic fermentation in the majority of the wines used. Well matured white fruits and citruses surface, followed by a rich and simultaneously crisp finish typical of the distinctive Lanson style. This wine has a lot of energy, that Hervé calls peps.

Food: given its surprising richness for its age–without any hints of oxidation–and its distinctive freshness, I see it very well with foods that bring these two elements in a similar way. For example a Blanquette de veau with the extra peps of some lemon in it. Maybe even better, this dish used as a sauce for a pasta that will bring the creamy texture of the starch. 

All in all, to me Black Réserve is a great BSA that I include among the best champagnes in this category. Merci Lanson. 

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