selosse ‘substance’ the stockholm tasting 1 december 2014
I’ve tasted all Your champagnes since my Selosse debute back in 1995 with the 1986 ‘Millésime’. The wine that gave You the title of ‘Winemaker of the Year in France 1994.’ by La Revue de Vins de France. The very same year that You started your ‘Solera’, later named ‘Origine’ and now ‘Substance’.
Every year since then I’ve purchased all The Selosse Champagnes that I could get my hands on. There are many people, known and unknown, who comes to The Champagnebar by Richard Juhlin during the years that all have opinions on Your champagnes. Most of them get a special kind of glimts in their eyes when they speak about You and Your champagnes. The idea of setting upp a small vertical of Your wines is always present. The trouble is of course that Your Champagnes are soo good and so rare that there is always the problem that one open up the bottles to soon …
However, this Saturday I gathered 20 champagne lovers at The Champagnebar by Richard Juhlin and set up a ‘mini-vertical’ of five different disgorgements of ‘Substance’.
It’s with great humbleness and gratitude that I write this open blog-post to show my sincere apreciation of Your skills och craftmanship. Thanks for existing Anselme!
Sthlm the 29th of November
nv SELOSSE ‘INITIAL – degorgement 15may’09’ | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 1 200 SEK | 100CH | Björnstierne points 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’
RICHARDS FIRST TASTING NOTE OF THE ‘ORIGINE’ – back in November 2005: ‘The first Champagne to be wholly vinified in new oak barrels—a practice that, as you know, many others have now adopted. After decanting, the oak was integrated and the wine became much like a white Burgundy. Broad aroma of peaches, wood, vanilla, and butterscotch.’ Repoints 90(90)
nv SELOSSE ‘SUBSTANCE – dégorgement 18sep’13’ | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 1 625 SEK | 100CH | Björnstierne points 95(96)
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!’
nv SELOSSE ‘SUBSTANCE – dégorgement 2juil’12’ | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 1 800 SEK | 100CH | Björnstierne points 94(96)
TASTING NOTE ‘Exaggeratedly oaky and heavy at first with a lot of dry asian spice. If one has the patience to let the wine breathe in the glass – or, better still, decant it – a buttery, Cramant-like spectrum will shine. Soft and impressively rich.’
nv SELOSSE ‘SUBSTANCE – dégorgement 2fev’11’ | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 1 900 SEK | 100CH | Björnstierne points 92(98)
TASTING NOTE ‘Loads of coconut, meringue, papaya, peaches, mango, and nutty barrel tones.’
nv SELOSSE ‘SUBSTANCE – dégorgement 21dec’10’ | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 2 000 SEK | 100CH | Björnstierne points 98(98)
TASTING NOTE ‘Fresh acidity is mixed with an oxidative character in a Krug-like way. The wine’s beautiful nose of arctic cloudberries and fudge is best appreciated when decanted. Mr H sighed ‘Ah, this how it should be!’ I could not agree more! What a complex wine! I’m truly in love!’
nv SELOSSE ‘SUBSTANCE – dégorgement 9Avr’09’ | Swedish importer: Netterberg | price 2 200 SEK | 100CH | Björnstierne points 96(98)
TASTING NOTE ‘The Master has done it again! The entire, unparallelled fireworks of personal aroma and flavour showed up right from the start when the wine was launched. Now delightfully balanced and loaded with fruitiness. Insanely, exotically spicy and juicily refreshing.’
20 tasters | 6 champagnes | 120 glasses | 20 smiling faces!
RJ ON 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.
photos by Raphaël Cameron – Vanity Studios