On the Trail

Launois Returns (and Will Vanish Once Again)

David Driscoll

Over the past few years we've experienced a dynamic spike in consumer interest for our direct-import, grower/producer Champagnes (meaning the person growing the grapes is the same person making the wine), but perhaps none has received more fanfare than Launois. Each time we receive a new shipment from France we witness a feeding frenzy from rabid Champagne drinkers, each having eagerly anticipated the arrival of more Launois with great relish. Our buyer Gary Westby just popped the latest batch of bottles in the tasting bar this afternoon for the staff. The results were as expected. The wines were outrageously good. The prices were outrageously low. What else was new?

What is it about Launois that has captivated K&L customers so? Perhaps it's the lush and electric style of the wines, always clean and with a pristine focus that lights up the palate like a pinball machine. Bernard Launois and his daughter Severine currently operate the Launois estate, the largest grower/producer in Champagne with almost fifty hectares of vineyards. All of their production is chardonnay, but Launois harvests its vineyards ten days after most growers to get more richness into the grapes without sacrificing chalky minerality in the ultimate flavor. The vineyards are all located in Mesnil, considered the best region for growing resulting in the highest prices for purchased fruit. Bernard doesn't like to use stainless steel for fermentation, opting instead for the enamel-lined iron tanks he's been using for decades.

We think it's that commitment to finding the perfect balance of richness and acidity that has our customers smitten. Considering the Grand Cru of Mensil is also home to both Salon and Krug's Clos de Mesnil, the wines of Launois have a serious pedigree. Having worked directly with Launois for about a decade now, we've finally laid the groundwork for a stronger relationship and larger allocations. It's because of our commitment to Bernard and Severine that we're able to offer K&L customers as much Launois as we currently can. It's because of the Launois family's dedication to quality and excellence that those allocations still fall short of demand.

As always, we're pleased to announce that another shipment of Launois as arrived at K&L. We hope it's enough to last you until the next one!

-David Driscoll