Lanson Wimbledon Champagne Cooler Jackets

Wimbledon season is once again upon us in the UK which means two weeks where people are allowed to go tennis crazy even if they’re not too bothered by the sport.  The drinkers among us, whatever their sporting pleasure, have something else to look forward to; the return of the Wimbledon Lanson Champagne cooler jacket.

Lanson have been supplying Champagne to the thirsty spectators of the tennis tournament since 1977 and became the official supplier in 2001.  The brand have long been producing specially designed cooler jackets, such as their super-cute Christmas editions, and their 2012 editions to commemorate both the London Olympics and the Queen’s 60th Jubilee Celebrations.

Lanson 2009

Although a simple purple zip up design had been produced in 2009, it was 2013 that saw them pair the two activities together in earnest, beginning what has become a popular yearly tradition.  Let’s take a look at some of the previous designs.

2013 – Ball Boy

The famous Black Label Brut NV came dressed in a ball boy’s purple tennis shirt, with buttons to the top, and a collar trimmed with green/purple.  The Rosé Label Brut NV naturally came in a pink t-shirt variant with purple/white trim, whilst the White Label Sec Brut NV was dressed in a white t-shirt with green/purple trim.  All were adorned with the Wimbledon Championships logo.

Lanson 2013

2014 / 2015 – Tennis Ball

This time around the Brut and Rosé came dressed as tennis balls, the Brut in custom yellow ball colour, and the Rosé in an appropriate pink shade.  Both neoprene jackets were finished off with a detachable Lanson branded charm to the rear zip (this was replaced with a fixed yellow tennis ball for the 2015 re-issue).

Lanson Tennis Ball

Lanson Tennis Ball v2

The White Label Sec came in a specially designed bottle wrap rather than a cooler jacket.

2016 – Ball Boy v2

Taking its cue from the 2013 design, this second ball boy variant substitutes the previous buttoned shirt design for zips, adorned with yellow tennis balls (as per the 2015 release) on the openers.  The Black Label Brut NV was now housed in a blue jacket, as opposed to the previous purple colour.

Lanson Ballboy v2

2017 / 2018 – Tennis Court

Each of the 3 bottles are currently available in lawn green jackets with the front ‘label’ in the appropriate colour for the bottle housed within.

Lanson Tennis Court

An exclusive design of the recently introduced Green Label Brut Organic Cuvée was produced to commemorate the 150th year of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.  This was only available at club events and for its members.

Many of the jackets throughout the years have been available in multiple bottle sizes including 20cl, 37.5cl, 75cl and magnum.  In addition a limited 20cl yellow ‘Polo’ version of the t-shirt design was available through specialist retailers, such as Selfridges.

Lanson Yellow

As each of the 3 designs have now been used twice, next year (Lanson’s 42nd year of association with the tournament) should see a completely new design produced.

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Aldi (7th Panel) Wine Club Tasting #6 – Crémant du Jura Chardonnay 2013

My final review now for the Aldi Wine Club, and what better way to go out than with a bit of fizz!

When the French turn their hand to making sparkling wine outside of the delimited region of Champagne, it is known as Crémant.  Made in exactly the same way as traditional Champagne, you get all of the skill but without the baubles of prestige that drive up Champagne prices the world over.

Eight French regions produce a Crémant including Limoux, Alsace and the Loire, but today we are headed to the Jura which is located on the mid-eastern side of the country between Burgundy and Switzerland.  Although many Crémants use grape varieties not used in Champagne such Pinot Gris, Savagnin, Pinot Blanc or Riesling, today we’re trying one that is made with one of the thoroughbred Champagne varieties – Chardonnay.

Aldi Cremant

Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura Chardonnay 2013, France, 12%, £7.29

Bottled under cork and muzzle exactly like its Champagne counterparts, this bottle has a very pleasing appearance, with it’s squat bottle reminiscent to me of the uber-expensive Champagne, Krug.

Crémant is made in a lighter style than Champagne but in many other respects the look is similar, and this wine is a lovely golden yellow in colour with fabulous small bubbles trickling their way from the bottom to the top of your glass.  When some sparkling wines are falsely carbonated to give the fizz, the bubbles will be bigger (as in a can of fizzy drink) and noticeably ‘false’, so the fact that these bubbles are incredibly fine is a good marker.

On the nose I can pick up lemon citrus with a touch of lime zest as well as some honey and peach, white pepper spice and cream.

On the palate there is the citrus characters mentioned, which seem to now have more of a confectionate lemon curd quality.  There’s also the fleshy notes of green apple and, more precisely, the apple pips.  This quality hints to the fact that the fruit isn’t fully ripened, which isn’t something to worry about, but a fairly natural consequence of grapes grown in a marginal northern climate.

The wine is made in the dry Brut style which balances well with the medium acid levels.  Underpinning the fruit you have the deep rich weight and texture of butter and cream coming from the Chardonnay grape, and also a slightly discernible light grip tannin.  The weight is medium, and yet the wine is light and airy and the mousse completely quaffable prior to it dissolving in the mouth.  The length is medium and the overall sensation is clean, refreshing and moreish.

It’s very weird to be saying this, but at £7.29 this fizz represents the most expensive wine I’ve been sent as part of the Aldi wine club.  This is of course completely competitive alongside the price-point of both Prosecco and Cava, but when compared to virtually any Champagne (including those ‘on offer’), it is extremely good value.

The wine has also been especially well received with the critics and is the winner of several awards including a Bronze medal from Decanter, a Silver medal at the International Wine Challenge 2015, and a Gold medal at the IWSC (International Wines & Spirits Challenge).

As a reflection on the above bottle and indeed all of the others supplied by Aldi for this series of tastings, I can honestly say that the quality has been well above my expectations, and the prices substantially lower.  My future wine-buying routine will well and truly be changed going forward and, even though I always look for merit in any wine no matter what it is, I would be being untruthful if I said that I wouldn’t have previously been distrustful or perhaps dismissive of a wine priced up at £3.79.

My eyes have truly been opened – Cheers!

With thanks to Aldi UK for supplying the bottle used in this tasting.

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