Lanson Extra Age "XA" Brut Champagne
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Light gold. Heady aromas of buttered toast, tangerine, poached pear and chalky minerals, with floral and honey notes adding complexity. Palate-staining orchard fruit and brioche flavors are underscored by suggestions of iodine and anise, with a smoky nuance gaining power with air. Clings tenaciously on the finish, strongly echoing the pear and floral notes. As rich and powerful as this Champagne may be, it possesses noteworthy finesse and clarity.
Creamy, textured wine, with a lively mousse and a balance of fine toasty age and fresh citrus fruits. It shows a dry character, firm and mineral, very textured with the weight to make it a food Champagne.
Racy and well-cut, with a fine, lightly chalky texture supporting notes of pastry dough, cassis, graphite and toasted almond. An elegant version, with some power behind the graceful form. Drink now through 2020.
As with the offering below, this wine has a lighter color than its designation of “extra age” might suggest, but unlike the Lanson Gold Label, this one is noticeably fresher and more complete in its champenization. It is decidedly yeasty and does have some of its mate’s toasty, near burnt edges, but this time, the underlying brioche-like character and the minerally, chalky, richness that one would hope to find are clearly and explicitly expressed from first sniff to finish.
One of the few true multi-vintage Champagnes, along with Laurent Perrier's Grand Siecle and Krug Grand Cuvée, this batch of Lanson Extra Age is based on a blend of 2000, 2002 and 2004. It is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from Grand and Premier Cru villages and aged for more than five years on its lees. Like all Lanson wines, it does not go through malolactic. The wine still has a green-gold color, despite the long aging, and authentic, rich toast on the nose. The XA is wonderfully lively and bright on the palate, with the complexity that it has gained over the years expressing itself on the nutty, long, authoritative finish. With so many of the big names in Champagne asking so much for their prestige cuvées, this is excellent value for money. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)