Anselme Selosse is a legendary producer in the Champagne region, and his collection of six Lieu Dit wines are astonishing, vinous expressions of top vineyard sites that he works with. It’s a rare treat to get to drink them all side-by-side.
The parcellation of terroir in Champagne is incomplete. Each of the Grand Cru or Premier Cru vineyard designation covers the vineyards of a village, and so there will be plots with quite different expositions and even soil types. So this is where the Lieu Dits come in: the larger vineyards are divided into smaller plots, each with their own characteristics. So when a grower like Selosse tries to express terroir in his wines, it’s the obvious way to go.
Anselme Selosse makes six different Lieu Dit wines, two of which are produced in such limited quantities that just about the only way to get them is to get a six-pack of all of the Lieu Dits (just 600 bottles made of each, as opposed to around 2800 of the other four). It was a nice treat to have these on New Year’s Eve with some friends. We began, though, with a bottle of Initial, which is made in slightly larger quantities (33 000 bottles).
Champagne Jacques Selosse Initial Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV France
Bottle code LB0716. This is a blend of three successive years, from the Grand Crus of Avize, Cramant and Oger. Pristine with notes of apples and pear, and a bit of spice. Lovely lemony core. Mineral and saline with amazing precision, and a tapering, lemony finish. 95/100
Champagne Jacques Selosse Avize ‘Les Chantereines’ Grand Cru Extra Brut NV France
Chardonnay from an 0.8 are plot. Complex and powerful, vinous and nutty with a savoury edge. Has nougat, spice and peach, and also a very mineral, citrussy finish. Such depth here with a real savoury quality and a pastry edge. Linear, complex and powerful. 97/100 (just 600 bottles)
Champagne Jacques Selosse Cramant Chemin La Châlone Grand Cru Extra Brut NV France
Chardonnay. This has a subtle toasty edge. Very mineral with pear and a bit of apple. Really vinous. Concentrated flavours here. Pristine, fine and expressive. 97/100 (just 600 bottles)
Champagne Jacques Selosse Le Mesnil Sur Oger ‘Les Carelles’ Grand Cru Extra Brut NV France
Chardonnay. Disgorged March 2017. This has some freshness, with mandarin and lemons. It’s mineral with nice citrus and pear fruit, as well as a hint of lemon and a twist of apple. Lovely precision and salinity here: very fine. 96/100
Champagne Jacques Selosse Ambonnay ‘Le Bout des Clos’ Grand Cru Extra Brut NV France
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. Complex and spicy with lovely richness. Notes of cherry, pear and spice with a touch of liquorice. Concentrated and mineral with amazing density. A touch of apple, too. Very fine. 97/100
Champagne Jacques Selosse Mareuil Sur Aÿ ‘Sous Le Mont’ Grand Cru Extra Brut NV France
Pinot Noir. Savoury, spicy and mineral with nice precision. Has citrus, pear and lively lemon and lime notes. A brisk, spicy style. 94/100
Champagne Jacques Selosse Aÿ ‘La Côte Faron’ Grand Cru Extra Brut NV France
Pinot Noir. Complex and bright with cherries and lemons as well as some spice. This has lovely precisiom and complexity. Lively with a bit of apple and nice structure. 96/100
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com
See also: a profile of Anselme Selosse