Don’t judge this spectacular champers by its label

2002 Lanson This tour de force from Lanson proves one should keep an open mind and not rely on labels for instruction.


2002 Lanson, Noble Cuve, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France£117.00,;£119.95, reduced to £99.95,

I always endeavour to taste wine with an open mind. "Taste the wine, not the label" is adviceI give to every young memberof the wine trade I meet, having been told it myself 32 years ago when I started working in this fascinating business. It has served me well. I find gems all over the place and they often have dreary labels or come from unlikely wineries. Of course,

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I have to taste thousands of bottles to find wines worthy of comment, but that's the job and I love the challenge. If you have lazily relied simply on labels alone to guide you, you will undoubtedly have a narrow palate and even narrower chances of success.

Here is a wine that proves one should keep an open mind and also not rely on labels for instruction. The 2002 Noble Blanc de Blancs is available in two labels the old one and my featured new one, so label-slaves would be confounded in their habits. Those out of love with Lanson (I was in this camp) will fall head over heels in a moment, too.

This is a spectacular chardonnay, shaped by its brilliant vintage, 17 years of age and its amazing, rich, layered palate. This is a tour de force from the home of the "Black Label" and Champagne fiends. Whether you were previously a Lanson fan or not, you must track it down its performance will shock you.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (




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