Founded in 1760 by Reims magistrate Francois Delamotte, in 1837 one of Champagne’s oldest houses changed its name to “Lanson Pere et Fils” after Francois Delamotte’s son Nicolas Louis (Knight of the Order of Malta) joined forces with farmer’s son and passionate winemaker Jean-Baptiste Lanson and his two sons Victor-Marie and Henri also entered the business. When Nicolas-Louis Delamotte and his wife died the Lanson family gained full control of the company.
From 1855 onwards under Victor-Marie’s leadership, Champagne Lanson increased its sales in continental Europe and in the all important British market – earning its first royal warrant from Queen Victoria in 1860. In 1919 Victor and Henri Lanson joined the business, buying up vineyards and becoming indefatigable globe-trotters, as they set out to make the name of Lanson Black Label familiar to all. Victor Lanson was a noted gastronome and one of the first champagne merchants to start using pinot noir grapes from the Aube in his champagne blends. Lanson’s unique house style (predominantly black grapes and no malolactic fermentation) has always been defined as fruity, fresh and bracingly dry but with enough vinosity and richness to match food: “I make wine for myself, what I can’t drink, I sell” was Victor Lanson’s professional credo. His long lunches (often taking more than 4 hours) were legendary and always began with a magnum of Black Label.
Chef de Caves Jean Paul Gandon tastes Champagne Lanson Gold Label 2002
In 1959 Victor launched Lanson Gold Label (vintage blend of 50% chardonnay/ 50% pinot noir) which was created as the perfect champagne to accompany a family meal. It is estimated that during his 87 years, Victor consumed at least 70,000 bottles of champagne. Victor had ten children, six of whom followed him into the family business.
In 1961 Lanson was served to President John F. Kennedy and his wife during their visit to Versailles, Lanson was the official champagne for Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and in 2010 the company celebrated its 250th anniversary with a grand party at the Chateau de Versailles. Unfortunately the Lanson family lost control of the business in 1970 and the brand has since changed hands several times and lost its significant vineyard holdings (208 hectares). Miraculously throughout this tumultuous period Lanson has retained the same Chef de Caves – super talented huntsman Jean-Paul Gandon who has been with the company since the 1970s and done a remarkable job as winemaker since 1991.
Since 2006 the business has been guided by the tallest and friendliest man in Champagne, Philippe Baijot (co-creator of modern day Champagne Group Boizel Chanoine with Bruno Paillard and Evelyne Boizel) who has ensured that Lanson’s entry level cuvee Black Label is widely available from London to Sydney at extremely reasonable value for money price points.
Current vintage release Lanson Gold Label 2002 represents exceptional value for any lover of champagne.
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