A visit to Champagne Paul Launois
13th July 2017
What struck me most when visiting Champagne Jean-Pierre Launois and meeting with current wine maker Julien Launois is here is an entrepreneurial label and some exciting things are happening within this Champagne house…
I have visited many Champagne houses now and many of whom are advancing fast by adapting to new wine making methods, the way people buy and access wines and the ways to communicate their brands, most time it is innovation which is key and though this was the case with my visit to Jean-Pierre Launois, I also discovered entrepreneurialism.
I was pleased to receive an invitation by Julien Launois, above, who is the current winemaker based in Le Mesnil sur Oger. The winery operates 6.5 hectares over 19 plots on high quality terroir and only recently Julien and his family moved the business in to new premises to enable for further expansion to his Champagne label (he purchased the winery from Billecart Salmon in 2013).
The winery currently is selling Champagne under co-operative method on the label Champagne Jean-Pierre Launois though will soon be removing themselves from this system of winemaking and will be producing wine themselves in 2018/19 under the label Paul Launois (Paul named after Julien’s son). You can explore four labels for Champagne Jean-Pierre Launois with a vintage, Blanc de Blancs, rosé and tradition.
The move of property / winery means a new era for this Champagne label and this is where the entrepreneurialism factor I described comes in to play thanks to Julien’s idea of the ‘Single Barrel’ solution. As you wander around the vast amounts of wine making space and wine cellars they own you can not help but notice barrels neatly suspended in the air of which entice you over to them and of course start asking Julien some questions of which he is most eager to answer.
“A Privileged exchange between the winemaker and the owner of the barrel to develop a custom-made Champagne.“
With the Single Barrel solution you have a chance to really involve yourself in the Champagne you buy from Julien, in fact your Champagne will be unique and will be made to your requirements and your involvement from choosing the level of toasting of the barrels your wine is stored in to the vinification you require – As Julien said, it is Champagne A la Carte!
The barrels in the photo are already sold and there are plans to increase the amount produced in years to come – It is an amazing and innovative project that allows for personalisation and for business it pre sells the wine for Julien so both seller and purchaser are rewarded.
I do recommend keeping an eye on Julien Launois and his winery as I expect exciting news and development to be released in near future years and some great experiences shared by the people choosing to take him up on the ‘Single Barrel’ sales.
Whilst sat with Julien and tasting through the current range of Champagne I threw him some questions:
Cheap Champagne is good for the industry? Here in the UK, supermarket are selling Champagne under £10 a bottle…
It’s not a good thing. Obviously, it is done to just attract people to their shops and does nothing in justifying the work that goes into making Champagne and importantly does not justify the real taste and pleasure of Champagne. Unfortunately, it is the big brands, such as supermarkets with big buying powers, that are the only ones who can do this.
What is your vision for Champagne Paul Launois?
It is to grow the brand, but to concentrate on quality over quantity. I would rather sell 30,000 bottles a year as a higher price sold on merit of the quality of the wine than 60,000+ bottles which are sold cheaply and I gain no satisfaction from selling what would be lower quality.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.