Anselme Selosse, son of Jacques, has changed the face of Champagne. At a time when the region of Champagne was not particularly focused on vineyard specificity and the expression of terroir, he was at the forefront of targeted viticulture. Anselme has given rise to a new generation of growers whose focus on the expression of specific plots of land and small, careful, precise production, is leading the current movement of ‘grower champagnes’. Anselme’s son, Guillaume, has been working with his father for several years and will be taking charge of the domaine when Anselme retires.
22 Rue Ernest Valle, Avize. +33 3 26 57 53 56
The range from Selosse are wines first, champagnes second. They have a wonderful fullness, depth and individuality as well as incredible aromatics, and delicate mousse. Drink them from regular wine glasses instead of flutes to fully appreciate the nuances of the wine, and do not shy away from serving these wines throughout a meal - even more of their character is revealed when paired with food.
Jacques Selosse Extra Brut Version Originale
100% Chardonnay. This blanc de blancs is a blend of three consecutive vintages from hillside vineyards in the villages of Cramant, Oger and Avize. The wines are aged in the bottle for 5 years. Dosage is very low, just 1.5g/L
Jacques Selosse Contraste
100% Pinot Noir. A blanc de noirs made solely with grapes from the tiny La Cote Faron vineyard in Ay.
Jacques Selosse Exquise
100% Chardonnay. A Demi-Sec Blanc de Blancs with 24g/L of dosage. The grapes come from Grand Cru vineyards in Oger. The wine ages for 3 years before disgorgement.
Jacques Selosse Rose
90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. Chardonnay from Avize is blended with still red Pinot Noir from Ambonnay. The wine is aged for 5 years prior to disgorgement and has a dosage of 4.6g/L.
Jacques Selosse Substance
100% Chardonnay. This Grand Cru blanc de blancs comes from just two parcels in Avize and has been made in a solera style since 1986. Each year 22% is drawn from the solera to make the wine and is replenished with the new vintage. The wine then ages for an additional 5-6 years before disgorgement. Dosage is just 0.4g/L.
Jacques Selosse Initial
100% Chardonnay. This is a blend of three consecutive vintages from the villages of Avize, Cramant and Oger, and spends 24-30 months on the lees. The wine is aged in bottle for 3 years and the dosage is 5g/L.
Jacques Selosse ‘La Cote Faron’
100% Pinot Noir. One of the lieux-dits range. This is a single vineyard blanc de noirs from La Cote Faron in Ay, made in a solera style. This tiny plot of 0.23 hectares has production of around 2,000 bottles per vintage, with steep south-facing slopes that can only be worked by hand. The wine ages for 5 years before disgorgement and has a dosage of 0.4g/L.
Jacques Selosse ‘Les Carelles de Mesnil’
100% Chardonnay. One of the lieux-dits range. A blanc de blancs from the ‘Les Carelles’ single vineyard in Mesnil, a small parcel of 0.40 hectares with very chalky soil. The wine ages for 5-6 years prior to disgorgement, and has a dosage of 0.4g/L.
Jacques Selosse ‘Le Chemin de Chalons’
100% Chardonnay. One of the lieux-dits range. A blanc de blancs from the village of Cramant.
Jacques Selosse ‘Le Bout du Clos’
100% Pinot Noir from the village of Ambonnay. One of the lieux-dits range.
Jacques Selosse ‘Sous le Mont’
100% Pinot Noir from the village of Mareuil-sur-Ay. One of the lieux-dits range.
Jacques Selosse ‘Les Chantereines’
100% Chardonnay from the village of Avize. One of the lieux-dits range.
A relative newcomer amongst centuries-old champagne producers, Jacques Selosse founded the house in 1949. He purchased some first-rate vineyard land in the Grand Cru village of Avize and for the first decade, sold all his fruit to Lanson. It was in 1960 that he bottled the first wine from his estate. A decade or so later, his son, Anselme Selosse, became a winemaking student, but instead of studying locally he went to Beaune where learned the techniques of making the great white wines of Burgundy. It changed the course of his career, and the Selosse wines, forever.
Anselme returned to Champagne and joined his father to make the wines in 1974. By 1976 he was introducing what he had learned in Burgundy to the care of his vineyards and wines. His fundamental principles - of restricting yields, organic farming and the concept of ‘terroir’ - were cutting edge at the time in Champagne, as was using barrels for fermentation and leaving the wines in contact with the lees for a prolonged period of time.
Now in his fifties, Anselme is credited with motivating a new generation of grower winemakers and sparking the current movement towards producing wines that express the characters of a particular plot, or ‘lieu-dit’, instead of the established practice of blending many areas into one homogenized cuvee. His achievements garnered him the title of France’s best winemaker in all categories from Gault-Millau in 1994.
Since 2012, Anselme has been producing six lieux-dits champagnes - three from Pinot Noir (from the villages of Ay, Mareuil-sur-Ay and Ambonnay) and three from Chardonnay (from Cramant, Le Mesnil and Avize). His intention is to create an historical road map of these individual expressions, to have a true expression of the evolution of terroir.
In the words of Andrew Jefford: “It is hard to think of a single individual in Champagne today whose work… is more influential than Anselme Selosse… a profound and original thinker whose vocation happens to be that of vigneron.”
Guillaume Selosse, Anselme’s son, has been working with his father over the past several years. He will assume full control of the domaine when Anselme retires. Guillaume made his first wine, ‘Au-Dessus du Gros Mont’ in 2009, from a parcel of old vines in Cramant bequeathed to him from his grandmother on his 18th birthday.
Jacques Selosse’s initial purchase of exceptional Grand Cru vineyards planted with old vines in Avize, was later expanded by Anselme. He currently owns parcels in Oger, Le Mesnil, Cramant, Ambonnay, Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay.
Anselme does things in a way unto himself, so while his viticulture is fully organic, he doesn’t flaunt the term and is not certified. He is also considered a ‘natural’ winemaker and uses many of the practices of biodynamics, such as working “with the moon”, but again, has no official accreditation.
The yields of his vineyards are some of the lowest in Champagne, giving intensity of flavour in the grapes, and leading to extremely representative fruit.
Interestingly, he took a strain of indigenous yeasts that produced particularly characterful wines and has lab-cultivated them. He uses them for both first and second fermentations.
The wines ferment in wood barrels, including ‘pieces’ (228L) from some of Burgundy’s top estates, ‘futs’ (400L) and ‘demi-muids’ (600L). Given his Burgundian influence, Anselme stirs the lees (batonnage) of the wines each week, creating a rich, oxidative style. Malolactic fermentation is neither encouraged nor prevented, and takes places only if it happens naturally during the evolution of the wine.