Dec 28, 2020
Founded in 1760 as the 4th Champagne house, Champagne Lanson is known for its fresh, acidic
style (no malolactic fermentation!). Over its 260 years, it has
stayed true to its principles and that original flavor profile.
In this show, Hervé Dantan, cellarmaster and Champagne native,
gives us a unique perspective. Hervé is the son of grape growers in
Champagne, and after graduating from enology school, he did
internships in Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Alsace, and in California
to learn about regions around the world.
At 25 years old only he became one of the youngest cellar master
in Champagne. He joined Champagne Lanson in 2013
and in 2015, Hervé Dantan became the Chef de Cave of Champagne Lanson.
This podcast is different from others in that Hervé discusses
the land and the vineyard. His perspective is so very different
from many in the region, who choose instead to focus on the process
in the winery. For you as listeners -- meaning dorky normal wine
people -- I think you will appreciate the conversation. It's much
less marketing and much more meat of how Champagne is truly
Here are some of the topics we cover:
- Hervé discusses the origins of Lanson -- how it was the 4th Champagne house founded
and how, whereas others have decided to change their styles to
something fatter and fuller bodied over time, Lanson has kept it
crisp style that forgoes malolactic fermentation for bright,
dancing fruit, pure acidity.
- We discuss the importance of relationship with growers,
understanding the land in Champagne, and how Lanson sources its grapes. They use fruit from 100
of the 320 Cru villages that make up the Champagne Appellation.
More than 50% of all the grapes that Lanson uses come from Grand
Cru and Premier Cru villages (30% is normal for
- Hervé tells us about the different regions of Champagne and the
value each serves in the blend.
- We discuss the organic and biodynamic viticulture projects of
Lanson and what Hervé and his team have learned from growing grapes
in this manner. We discuss the difficulty of total certification in
Champagne, and Hervé discusses the importance of sustainable
certification. In this, Hervé also tells us how Lanson is dealing
with climate change, mainly by working in the vineyard and with
nature to adapt.
- We discuss the most difficult part of Hervé's job -- assembling
the blends. He gives great detail into how it's done and what goes
into making each type of wine (hint: the non-vintage wine is the
hardest to make!)
- We talk process and I ask about two things I've always wondered
- Why having the disgorgement date on the bottle is
- Is there a noticeable difference in quality between using a
gyropalette and remuage/riddling by hand
- Hervé, as a native of Champagne, tells us how he pairs the wine
with food. Here are some of his ideas:
- Always as an aperitif and with cheese
- Chardonnay-based Champagne with seafood
- Blancs de Noir/Vintage/Rosé Champagne with white meat or with
dishes that are both sweet and salty
- Old vintage Champagne with some red meats
- Not surprising, when asked about the future for Lanson and
Champagne, Hervé told us it's all about the vineyard!
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