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.
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 and Villers-Marmery
Pinot Meunier: 15%
Reserve wines: 45%, of which some aged in oak casks
Aging: 5 years (base 2014)
Dosage: 7 g/l
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.