Vacationing in Hawaii, we were sharing a house in Kailua, outside Honolulu, with some friends, who brought along a six-pack of a Champagne that was new to me—Launois Champagne Blanc de Blancs NV. "My wife will drink this one," my friend said. "And she doesn't like a lot of Champagne."
First taste and I understood why. It had what I like to call a winey quality. The flavor profile was more like the fruit-mineral-spice balance of a complex, mouthwatering still Chardonnay wine than the yeasty-citrusy-toasty notes of many blanc de blancs Champagnes. The texture was on the plush side, but had enough acid backbone to be refreshing. 91 points, non-blind.
Launois is a domaine in Mesnil, the southernmost part of Champagne, home to some pretty famous wines (Salon and Krug make special bottlings from there). This one isn’t quite in their league, but the $35 price tag makes it a steal.
We opened a bottle to sip before dinner. Then we took another to a local Chinese restaurant and drank it with a moo-shu dish. We drank another with goat cheese, and another with ahi sashimi. The Champagne was an amiable companion at the table, as were our friends.