Last week we gathered some members of Richard Juhlin Champagne Club @ our champagnebar for another interesting champagne tasting with different disgorgements of The Champagne from Anselme Selosse.

We tasted two different disgorgements of three of his champagnes – Initial, V.O. & Substance.

Champagne Selosse

nv SELOSSE ‘INITIAL – dégorgement 4aout’14 | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 775 SEK | 100CH | BJpoints 90(94)

THE CHAMPAGNE The same wine as Tradition with a new name. A blend of three vintages from Avize, Cramant & Oger. Sûr-lie >3 years before disgorgement. Dosage: ~5 g/l. Production 33 000 bottles from the flatter parts of the vineyards where the soil is slightly richer.

TASTING NOTELovely nose: oriental dry spice, white flowers, dried white & yellow fruits. One can notice its personality first with the presence in the mouth. The material shows itself in a very mature, but not exaggerated style. The oak is well integrated. The dosage is still somewhat present in the wine, but I do not see that as a problem, because it is almost completely absorbed by the champagne. It is a fantastic champagne, very tasty and delicious.’

nv SELOSSE ‘INITIAL – degorgement 15may’09’ | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 1 200 SEK | 100CH | BJpoints 93(94)

TASTING NOTE ‘Selosse’s youngest Champagne needs a few months after being disgorged for it to develop those Selosse aromas that are so hard to describe. Undoubtedly a great Champagne which with time will both taste and smell of Brazil nuts. The same wine as Tradition with a new name. As refreshing as an Arctic sea breeze. Oaky and potent, with pear, apple, and oriental spice aromas. Lovely complexity has developed in this version’

mv SELOSSE ‘V.O’ – dégorgement 9avril’14  | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 875 SEK | 100CH | BJpoints 92(94)

THE CHAMPAGNE The same wine as Brut Tradition with a new name. This is Anselmes multi-vintage cuvée stored at least 42 months before disgorging and bottled with little or no dosage. To make a good champagne without dosage requires extremely high-quality grapes, precisely that one should not / should hide small imperfections with exaggerated sweetness. A blend of three vintages from Avize, Cramant & Oger. Sûr-lie >4-5 years before disgorgement. Dosage: ~1,5 g/l. Production 3 000 bottles from the best slopes of the vineyards where the soil is poorer.

TASTING NOTE ‘This wine demands one more year in the bottle to round off that sharp malic acidity. Loads of peaches, mango, and nutty barrel notes. No one knows how good this wine really can become, but between ten and fifteen years after disgorging should be a perfect period of storage. An exceptional nonvintage Champagne. As of now, a little too young, but with an enormous integral power and fantastic acidity. Too oaky for some. Some bottles fully matured.’ 

mv SELOSSE ‘V.O’ – dégorgement 3may’10 | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 1 150 SEK | 100CH | BJpoints 94(95)

TASTING NOTE ‘Powerful nose of roasted nuts. The nose is rich and unmistakingly Selosse – almondy notes, floral (crocus and geranium) oxidative notes. Here there was a hardness due the acidity which Anselme says will be balanced by the dosage when disgorged. He’s not a champagne maker who will mask the terroir with dosage. Most of his wines have a small dosage around 1-2 grams. The taste is just as intense, a taste of oak tree that still has an important place with aromas of toasted bread (brioche). Behind this toasted oak, is a long complex finish. The wine also seems more interesting after a long decanting (which I love to perform with all champagnes who has been in the vicinity of the new oak) because the wine is extremely complex. After about half hour it shows a plethora of new aromas, remarkably fun and enjoyable!’

mv SELOSSE ‘SUBSTANCE’ – dégorgement 15May’14 | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 1 600 SEK | 100CH | BJpoints 95(96)

THE CHAMPAGNE Every year 22 percent of the wine is drawn of the solera. The wine is made from two different parcels in Avize; one south facing slope and on east facing hillside. All the Seslosse vintages from 1986 is represented in this wine. Sûr-lie >5-6 years before disgorgement. Dosage: 0-4 g/l. Production 1 650 bottles.

TASTING NOTE ‘A new name for the Solera wine from Selosse. First Origine, then Substance—why not just call it Solera? Well the people of Jerez have some troubles with that. There is, of course, a certain difference, because the wine changes slightly from year to year, depending on the youngest and most recent vintage used as an addition. The wine is still somewhat oakier and younger, but has a very clean and pure tart base to stand on. It would be wonderful to have a tasting with all of the different Solera blends made by Amselme, ever since the ’86 was poured into the steel tank in which all the wines are mixed. Better and better!’

mv SELOSSE ‘SUBSTANCE’ – dégorgement 9Avr’09 | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 2 100 SEK | 100CH | BJpoints 96(96)

TASTING NOTE ‘The nose is just absolutely phenomenal; full of white flowers – Magnolia en masse, ginger, dried peaches and straw. The palate is structured, the acidity is incredibly present (no malo), finish is tight and firm! Absolutely superb, truly incomparable. This version shows the absolute perfect balance. Or as an international colleague put it: Coche-Dury in Champagne-dress!’

Champagne Selosse

RJ ON SELOSSE I’ve mentioned the name of Anselme Selosse on several occasions earlier in this book, partly because he’s my favorite grower, and partly because he’s the most original winemaker in all of Champagne. The charismatic Anselme is influenced by his time at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, where he studied together with several famous winemakers from Burgundy. Anselme was determined to attempt to make a great champagne using Burgundy methods. His father Jacques already owned some of the best strips of land in the Côte des Blancs, full of old vines, so Anselme did have some excellent basic materials to work with.

Today Anselme owns four hectares in Avize, one in Oger, one in Mesnil, one in Cramant, 1 in Ambonnay, 1 in Mareuil and one in Aÿ. The land in Aÿ is right next to Bollinger’s Côte aux Enfants Anselme has made an oak-fermented Blanc de Noirs from these grapes. All of Selosse’s thirty-five Chardonnay locations are vinified separately in small Burgundy barrels bought in from different barrel makers.

Anselme, the perfectionist, does almost everything himself. The old vines—average age thirty-eight years old—are pruned to the maximum in order to minimize the yield. The grapes are harvested later than most and are individually picked. After the pressing, the juice is tapped into 225-liter barriques (20 percent new barrels), where it stays for a year.

Once a week Anselme lifts up the sediment with a steel rod in order to further enrich the wine, in a traditional Burgundy process called “bâtonnage.” Selosse categorically rejects malolactic fermentation, which means his rich wines have a bite that is unbeatable. The wines are then stored up to eight years in the bottle before being disgorged. Just as with Krug, all Selosse’s well-kept wines need at least six months’ bottle age after being disgorged in order for them to be accessible. The dosage is always very low, and only fruit sugar is used to maintain the wine’s natural balance. Selosse’s wines have given Champagne a new dimension, with their unique, vinous, Chardonnay style. The magic man from Avize has swiftly become Champagne’s cult grower number one, after having been chosen as France’s top winemaker in all categories by the magazine Gault Millau in 1994. Despite the fame, the price is resonable. All wines are magical. Thanks for existing Anselme!

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