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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
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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 made. 

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 Champagne). 


  • 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 about:
    • Why having the disgorgement date on the bottle is important 
    • 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! Amen! 


Thanks to our sponsors this week:

Wine Access 

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Wine Access is a web site that has exclusive wines that overdeliver for the price (of which they have a range).

  • They offer top quality wines by selecting diverse, interesting, quality bottles you may not have access to at local shops.
  • Wine Access provides extensive tasting notes, stories about the wine and a really cool bottle hanger with pairings, flavor profile, and serving temps.
  • Wines are warehoused in perfect conditions and shipped in temperature safe packs. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

Check it out today! 


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