So how do you celebrate with your loved one? Red roses? A special date night? Champagne? Now you’re talking! Champagne it is! And I can thoroughly recommend Champagne from the House of Janisson.

The House of Janisson was (not ‘is’ – I’ll explain later) located in Verzenay, a classified Grand Cru village in the heart of the Montagne de Reims, on one of the most prestigious terroirs of Champagne.

At its head was Manuel Janisson, whose grandfather, Robert Arnould, was the first winemaker to create his own trade-business in 1923. In 1996 Manuel created his own winery in the heart of Verzenay and launched his House of Champagne. Ten years later, to celebrate his 2006 vintage, he styled his first special bottle and went on to build an impressive winery, designed by his friend Giovanni Pace, a well-known architect.

(Now to find out why I said ‘was’ and not ‘is’.) Since then Janisson et Fils has been sold to LVMH (Louis Vuitton Martel Hennessey) for an undisclosed sum – but one they couldn’t say no to!

The Janisson et Fils label is to be discontinued and LVMH will use the vineyards to supply grapes to the Champagne Houses they already own, such as Dom Pérignon, Ruinart, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Krug, and Mercier.

So – stocks of Janisson are slowly running out world-wide, but the good news is that The Wine Shed has the majority of the small amount of stock left in the UK. It may be a little melodramatic to say so, but buying a bottle of Janisson is like owning a piece of Champagne history – once it’s gone, it’s gone.

The Wine Shed has almost all the type of Champagnes that Janisson produced but I’m concentrating on one in particular – the Brut Nature. The ‘Nature’ bit refers to the fact that the dosage (the topping up) contains no added sugar. This is pretty unusual, but more and more producers who want to preserve the natural qualities of the wine have actively made the choice not add any sugar in the dosage.

This dry Champagne is made up of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay and has been aged for a minimum of 36 months. It’s a gorgeous white gold colour (perhaps to match that ring you might be giving on Valentine’s Day?!) with fine, persistent bubbles. On the nose it has aromas of peach and apricot with hints of candied lemon and almond which are carried through to the palate. It’s delightfully well-balanced with a long finish. You could drink it as an accompaniment to seafood, poultry or light desserts, but to my mind it really should be shared with your loved one, just as it is.


By Maureen Little