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“Nature is larger and bigger than all of us. It’s crazy to think that man can dominate nature.”

Anselme Selosse issued this profound statement while explaining his winemaking philosophy one recent morning at his small property in Avize, a village in Champagne’s Côte des Blancs.
“Wines must show the characteristics of the place,” he continued. “Illuminating the vineyard is my obsession.”
For Selosse, wine has a higher purpose. A wine must translate place, clearly expressing the characteristics of the soils and climate in which it’s grown.  This concept — the notion of terroir — is hardly unique. Winemakers across the world wax poetically about how “wine is made in the vineyard.” When Selosse took over his father’s winery in 1974, however, such talking points weren’t yet clichéd. In Champagne, especially, few producers cared about such things.

There were exceptions, of course. But most of the large producers that dominated the region sought simply to deliver a consistent product each year. They purchased grapes from growers across Champagne and paid by the ton. So growers sought to “dominate nature,” maximizing yields by utilizing fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
The results were predictably atrocious, but it didn’t matter. For most producers and virtually every consumer, Champagne wasn’t about wine; it was about luxury. So Selosse’s philosophy wasn’t just unusual, it was downright revolutionary. Selosse learned to care about the quality of the fruit underneath a wine in Burgundy, where he was inspired by the legendary vignerons at Domaine Coche-Dury, Domaine Leflaive and Domaine des Comtes Lafon.  Shortly after taking over his father’s vineyard holdings, Selosse began moving towards organic farming, obsessing over his land, and managing yields with a focus on quality. He started to push ripeness to its physiological extreme, a difficult feat in France’s northernmost wine region.

In the cellar, Selosse chose to focus on his vin clair — the still wine that’s created before secondary fermentation — because “[it] shows that all the flavors are there; bubbles are just an accessory.”
Although soft-spoken, Selosse speaks with the fervor of a firebrand preacher, the charm of a practiced storyteller, and the passion of a zealous philosopher. As we chatted in his cellar, Selosse talked at great length about the microorganisms that live in a vineyard’s soil — and the unique characteristics they bring to his wines.To illustrate this theme, he pointed towards the ceiling, where the hindquarters of several pigs were hanging, slowly curing. For Selosse, the difference between Prosciutto di Parma, Jamon Iberico and Jambon de Bayonne can be explained entirely by the flora, fauna and fungi the pigs feed on in different regions of the world. He quickly extended the argument to cheese, milk and saké.

A moment later, Selosse pulled out a cigarette lighter, found a piece of paper and lit it on fire. Within seconds, he was left with a small pile of ash. Since all living things resolve to little more than carbon, he said, the identity of everything we consume is found in the ground.  “Nowhere else in the world can you make wines with the flavors we have here,” he explained, bringing it all back to Champagne.Scientific? Perhaps not. But with wines that are so extraordinarily expressive, I’m a believer.
Selosse’s wines aren’t easy to find. Miniscule production and a cult-like following have brought the prices sky-high. When available, his least expensive offering retails for $165 per bottle.

His impact can’t be overstated. Selosse has inspired a whole generation of growers to pursue wine’s higher purpose. And he has inspired a whole generation of consumers to see Champagne as a vessel, fully capable of expressing a vineyard.

David White is the founder and editor of Terroirist.com, which was named “Best Overall Wine Blog” at the 2013 Wine Blog Awards.

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History

In 1949 Jacques Selosse, Anselme's father, created in Avize the domain, which still bears his name, with his wife.
Anselme took over the estate in 1974. Domaine Jacques Selosse produces 57,000 bottles of Champagne every year from grapes grown and harvested on 7.5 ha of vines spread over Chardonnay plots in the Côte des Blancs — Avize, Cramant, Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger — and a few Montagne de Reims plots, dedicated to growing Pinot Noir, in Aÿ, Ambonnay and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. 

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Vineyards

Similar to the very top producers in Burgundy, Selosse adopted biodynamic viticulture and continues to strive hard to express the characteristics of the underlying terrior. With a mere 7.5 hectare of vineyards, Domaine Jacques Selosse only produces 4,750 cases per year

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Winemaking

Today, the Selosses has some forty parcels spread throughout Avize, Cramant, le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Ambonnay. Following with Burgundian tradition, the wines are fermented in barrel. My job is to find "each individual character its rightful home”. "I am not the master, merely a servant to all these different personalities.” Anselme Selosse.

It is a measure of what Anselme has accomplished that in 1994, Gault-Millau named him France’s best winemaker in every category, an unprecedented honor. Accolades like this have contributed to his reputation as perhaps the most original winemaker in France today, admired not only by his peers but by a legion of collectors worldwide who covet each and every bottle of Jacques Selosse Champagne they can find.

 

 

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Inside information

Perhaps Anselme’s most important insight was that to make profound Champagne, you must start with a great wine for the base. Fortunately for him, he was blessed with spectacular grand cru vineyard holdings in Avize, Cramant, and Oger.

In fact, while much has been made of his winemaking methods, Anselme’s emphasis on viticulture and terroir may have been his greatest advance. He is one of the world’s most profound thinkers about the relationship between healthy soils and the wines that spring from them. With low yields and fastidious viticulture, he is able to harvest fruit that is not only Champagne’s most physiologically ripe, but also its most expressive. In the winery, Selosse defies convention by using only indigenous yeasts for fermentations and by minimizing the use of SO2. He ferments and raises his wines in wood barrels (less than 20% new) and leaves them on their fine lees for extended periods.


Such techniques may explain why his wines have such towering quality, but they cannot explain why no one else has been able to duplicate the elusive “Selosse” flavor profile or the remarkable texture his wines exhibit. This is surely a tribute to the man, as well as to his viticulture.

Anselme’s questing intelligence has been testing Champagne’s limits for more than 25 years. This profound body of knowledge must account for some of the Selosse magic.

 

 

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12 different wines with 43 vintages

Winemaking since 1950

  • Anselme Selosse

    “Nature is larger and bigger than all of us. It’s crazy to think that man can dominate nature.”

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Niklas Lund, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  6 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Dinner with Selosse.

6d 18h ago

 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Dujac Clos de la Roche-dinner -  Vintage 1978: The bouquet is a delightful medley of Asian spices, soy, dark fruit, game and some autumn leaves. It has a ravishing “mouthfeel” and I can taste it still. Herbs, cedar, black cherry, potpourri, cloves, at the mid palate you are taken aback by the dance between fullness and elegance, depth, length and vibrancy abound. The bright core of acidity comes forth as it approaches its finale, notes of game, vivid dark fruit laced with cinnamon, pepper and some gently wafting smokiness, in the midst of the low yield driven intensity which is a signature of the vintage, all orchestrally marshaled: a simply stylish beguiling symphony on the palate. 97 Points+

18d 14h ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  21 wines 

The Selosse was very apple juicy and tasty but a NV Champagne better served in its youth. The Chevalier Blanc remains one of the best kept secrets in fine white wine that can age. Honey, nut, oak, glue, baked fruit and coconuts. Austere yet super stimulating. The 1981 Sauzet was a revelation. A forgotten vintage for Burgundy, this Chardonnay delivered an outstanding experience. ‘Better than 1983,’ the Keymaster resonated. The 1959 Montrose was affected, but the 1955 was solid. Nice, buttery and with tension are some of my observations. I am not a big fan of young Comte Armands, but perhaps the older ones are just what I needed. Deep, dark and delicious, it even had one of our distinguished guests guessing Griottes. All wines were served blind btw. What else is new, the DRC proved to be the best wine on the table. It was classic mint with red Christmas fruits and beef satay action. The LHB was all about the cassis and chocolate, and it delivered a great drinking experience. 1971 Bordeaux are definitely under investigated.

1m 3d ago

 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  9 wines 

1985 Romanée-Conti / My only 100 point red wine was this masterpiece in Jeroboam with my friend Philip Ng in Singapore a few years ago. In regular bottle perhaps just a tiny bit less unreal but still the most perfect beautiful red wine there is.

3m 5d ago

 Richard Juhlin / The number One champagne expert in the world, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  30 wines 

Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises 1969 / I just needed to dip my nose for a second before I realized what wine it was. Here you are met by a blast of smells with an equally unmistakable as indescribable crystal clear identity. The volume is huge, but the wine is extremely fresh and acidic thanks to vintage. The aromatic spectrum is ranging from jasmine, passion fruit, sea buckthorn, licorice toffee, black olives, tar and charcoal grilled meat. A perfect bottle from the debut year.


A fantastic vintage and one of the greatest Champagnes I have ever tasted. I managed to get a bottle from the last remaining case the producer had. This is also unique for being the first vintage of Vieilles Vignes Françaises. A very dark golden-reddish color, perfect mousse, and a magnificent bouquet. There are none of the 73s vegetable tones, but instead this 69 is dominated by sweet licorice, dark chocolate, tobacco, apricot, and peach. The texture is oily and fat, but the acidity is impressive under the benign surface.

4m 28d ago

 Paulius Gruodis, Pro (Lithuania)  tasted  2 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  14 wines 

This is not very frequent that in a single champagne tasting you are being offered some rare and old champagnes many of which score some bold 97-99 points. Certainly, it will not be surprising for anyone to assume this is due to the fact that these particular bottles were either oenothèque versions (late-disgorged having spent many years extra in the cellar) or with a perfect provenance. Otherwise I do not have any other explanation for huge scores I gave last weekend, especially, given that I had tried many of them on different occasions from bottles with original disgorgement. And what a difference if compared! This was a special tasting not only because of the above-mentioned features but also the content of the line-up itself. Top performers of the night were 1979 Pierre Peters Les Chétillons, 1990 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises, 1973 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Selosse trio from 1990 (50%), 1989 (25%) and 1988 (25%) as well as another trio by Anselme from 1998 (50%), 1997 (25%) and 1996 (25%), 1988 Franck Bonville Avize Grand Cru, 1985 Magnum Pommery Flacon d'Exception. To capture the great moment we have finished with 1870 Ingham Whitaker & Co. Marsala Superiore Riserva. Delicious indeed.

1y 18d ago

 Mark Beaven , Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  20 wines 

MY TOP 20 OF THE 2016


1.Roumier Musigny 1969


2. Petrus 1961


3. Dom Pérignon Rosé 1969...

1y 3m ago

 Björnstierne Antonson / sommelier, Pro (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  10 wines 

"MY TOP 10 CHAMPAGNES OF 2016"

1y 3m ago

 Alper Alpaslan, Pro (Germany)  tasted  3 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  10 wines 

Great Champagne tasting with Selosse and Dom Perignon vintages like 1959 and 1966.

1y 4m ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  27 wines 

A Bad Boy Birthday Bash


Some people know how to do it right. The right ambience, the right company, the right food and of course, the right wine. I have been drinking with Bad Boy as long as I have been writing tasting notes, and I can safely say that he knows how to do it right. This past month he hosted over sixty wine lovers at his home in New Jersey for a spectacular celebration of wine and friends. The guest list was basically the Academy Awards for fine and rare wine in New York City, and Bad Boy unanimously took home Best Director and Best Picture.
 
The only problem with a Bad Boy production is the party factor, as in it turns into a great party, rather quickly. Some, like Mr. Vinous and Dapper Dave, stayed studious to the very end and compiled many more notes than I. I started strong, but in the end I am a drinker, so of the 130 bottles, 16 magnums and 2 jeroboams that were opened, I managed notes for approximately 30 wines. While I feel quite inadequate at the moment, I felt more than adequate throughout the night.

1y 4m ago

 Mark Beaven , Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  118 wines 

BF Post-Bday Marathon Tasting with White Truffle Twist + Elvis - 118 wines!

1y 5m ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Jacques Selosse . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“It was Saturday night, a seemingly improbable Day Two of this Bacchanalian extravaganza. The Rev was one day older, and we were all very much wiser thanks to the incredible array of once in a lifetime wines experienced the night before. There was not much more to do except do it again.”

1y 8m ago

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