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Editor at large Harvey Steiman joined Wine Spectator in 1983.
Harvey Steiman

A Champagne Surprise

Launois Champagne Blanc de Blancs NV

Harvey Steiman
Posted: December 15, 2010

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.

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Champagnes, along with our quick list of Top Values among sparkling wines from around the world.

Sorella Wine & Spirits
Minneapolis, MN —  December 17, 2010 8:05pm ET
Thanks for the info Harvey. If you could include the name of the U.S. importer, which appears on the back label of every bottle of imported wine sold in the U.S., retailers would have a much better shot at tracking the wine down when our customers come looking for it.

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