After our relaxed lunch @ Bollinger in Aÿ we asked Yoann, our driver to take us to Avize to visit our long time friend Anselme Selosse at his and wife Corinnes beautiful hotel Lés Avisés. During the whole time the Selosse’s Jack Russel ‘Uva the dog’ kept an eye on us!
RICHARD JUHLIN ON ANSELME SELOSSE I’ve mentioned the name of Anselme Selosse on several occasions earlier in my books, 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!
“We should take what nature has given – and not interfere”
mv Selosse ‘Initial’ | 08’07’06 | Avize | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJpoints 93(94)
TASTING NOTE ‘The same wine as Tradition with a new name. 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.As refreshing as an Arctic sea breeze. Oaky and potent, with pear, apple, and oriental spice aromas.”
mv Selosse ‘Version Original’ | 08’07’06 | Avize | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJpoints 93(94)
TASTING NOTE ‘The same wine as Extra Brut with a new name. As yet, a little too young, but with an enormous integral power and fantastic acidity. Too oaky for some. Some bottles fully matured. Disgorged after five years in the cellar and without any dosage, this wine demands one more year in the bottle to round off that sharp malic acidity. No one knows how good this wine can become, but between ten and fifteen years after disgorging should be a perfect period of storage. An exceptional nonvintage Champagne.’
mv Selosse ‘Les Carelles’ | Solera ’03-’08 | Le Mesnil-sûr-Oger | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJpoints 96(97)
TASTING NOTE ‘Felt slightly less explosive which 2007 are in the back. Just hope it is due to the slightly weaker vintage and not to his son Guillaume had put his stamp on the different vinification. Of course the lovely lime oriented sensational composition as usual.
mv Selosse ‘Substance’ | Solera ’03-’07 | Avize | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJpoints 95(95)
TASTING NOTE ‘A new name for the Solera wine from Selosse. First Origine, then Substance—why not just call it Solera? 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 ’87 was poured into the steel tank in which all the wines are mixed. Better and better!’
2002 Selosse ‘Millésime’ | sans souffre et non dosé | Avize | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJpoints 94(96)
TASTING NOTE ‘Very ripe grapes and even so brilliant balance. Fine development in the glass and gorgeous nuttiness. It is going to be fantastically enjoyable.’
mv Selosse ‘Sous Le Mont’ | Solera’04-’08 | Mareuil-sur-Aÿ | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJpoints 95(96)
TASTING NOTE ‘Selosse’s wonderfully truthful interpretation of Mareuil and Clos des Goisses-terroir. Very young and undeveloped, but with an odd and yet by typical village pattern where I clearly find grass, northern lake plants hogweed, wild rosemary and bog myrtle. Beef Stew and north-typical spices mixed with some incipient stables-scents and red plum. A little Sauternes in the scent last.
The first time that I and Anselme are completely satisfied with and fully understand us in this special terroir. The magnesium in the soil gives a special saltiness that obviously do not feel comfortable with the dosage. Super Exciting kombinatrion between Clos Saint-Hillaire and Selosse second vineyard wines.’
mv Selosse ‘Cuvée Exquise’ | demi-sec | Avize | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJpoints 85(87)
TASTING NOTE ‘Dosage 24 gr/litre. Just about as good as a sweetened champagne can possibly become. What acid bite and Persian spice market there are in the aroma spectrum. Perfect to go with Tiramisu.”
15 champagne lovers | 7 champagne | 51vintages | 105 glasses