Shine, Shine On
1996 Lanson Gold Label Brut
[Awesome] Vintage Champagne, Under $60
"I can't think of a better wine that will simultaneously thrill even the choosiest Champagne connoisseur, delight your drinking buddies and impress your wine geek friends..."
So Bobby said when he emailed about this wine a couple of years ago. Since then, the 1996 Lanson Gold Label Brut has gotten even better.
Since our last email on this, Lanson's 96 has turned a corner. I always thought it was a great Champagne, super-charged with all sorts of razor-sharp minerals and pure, flashing white, bright orange and lime green fruit notes with a glowing, drawn-out finish that lasted at least 40 seconds. Really impressive - especially given the price...
But my most recent bottle was like turning to a new, even more fascinating, more sophisticated chapter: 14 years of rest has mellowed the piercing acidity, and while all of the outrageous purity of fruit is still very much there, it's gotten richer and rounder, more coating and creamy... still intense, but now in a more next-sip-compelling, just totally seductive kind of way.
Secondary development has also brought out new elements - a slight, pretty caramelization of fruit, baking brioche notes - a more intricate palette with these slicked between the striking, shining fruit and minerals. Complexity like this rarely comes from Champagnes under $100.
Lanson's style is one of the most distinct in Champagne - they block malolactic fermentation, which explains that fierce acidity in youth. But when time has its way with the bottles, these are unlike anything else, maintaining all that powerful minerality and bright fruit - yet it's softened up a bit, like a juicy peach allowed to ripen to perfection in the sun.
The 96 vintage was widely called one of the greatest of the 20th century. It's chock-full of fantastic ripeness and incredible acidity, and it promises impressive aging - this bottle should evolve like Lanson's phenomenal 1976, 79 and 82, which we've also been blown away by. The upcoming holiday (we can even get this delivered to the Hamptons in time for fireworks) may find you taking down three bottles this weekend alone, but a few more years in the cellar wouldn't be a bad idea, either.
It's true: This is a bottle that continues to sit on the "favorite" list of the Crush staff, and it's a wine with enough pedigree to impress serious Champagne freaks, a good dash of just-under-the-radar clout to please the geeks, and an overall bright, delicious profile and wonderful texture to make it appealing to anyone with a penchant for celebratory beverages. Again, this is the last of the 96 Lanson on the market in quantity. Speak now, or....
To place your order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wines
Crush Wine & Spirits
Lanson is in stock!
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