Jacques Selosse Lieux-Dits Collection Case (2008 Base)
This dinner had taken more half a year in planning but it was completely worth it. A friend had managed to find a reasonably priced Jacques Selosse Lieux-Dits Collection case (reasonable being a relative term) that was disgorged in 2014/2015 with 2008 base wine. As you know, 2008 is probably one of the best vintages for champagne in the last two decades so we were in for a real treat. Only 300 cases of the Lieux-Dits are produced each year so it’s also terribly hard to find.
Selosse is most famous as a pioneer of grower champagne who first used Burgundian approach to making champagne, from biodynamic practices to carefully bottling individual lieux-dits. Because of this, it was the first time I’ve had a comparative tasting of different champagne terroirs from the same producer. It’s hard first to find a single producer who has so many different parcels and second, one who would bottle them individually — he just so happens to be Selosse. Here we got a clear sense of what parcel is like, through both chardonnay and pinot noir.
Jacques Selosse NV Extra-Burt Avize Les Chantereines: Essentially the wine I looked forward to the most. It was quite tight however it buzzed with energy from the get go. Despite the strong honey, brioche and toasty notes, it all felt quite clean and precise. Lean almost in its own way. However I feel this wine still have much to offer and is not ready to show off just yet.
Jacques Selosse NV Extra-Brut Cramant Chemin de Chalons: An equally brilliant wine that caused serious excitement. However it seemed even more focused that the Avize, if that is even possible. The salinity and savouriness of the wines compels you to dig deep but this is a shy beauty not ready for its debut just yet.
Jacques Seloose NV Extra-Brut Les Mesnils sur Oger Les Carelles: We finish the chardonnay flight with the most flamboyant of them all. It is undeniably rich, luscious and intense in every way, with its heavy honey, crisp and smokey notes. However again I don’t think this is all that the wines has to offer and there are many ways to go.
Jacques Selosse NV Extra-Brut Ambonnay Le Bout du Clos: Disgorged Feb 2015. 80% Pinot Noir and 20% chardonnay technically. Easy the wines that opened up best out of the pinot heavy or pinot based champers. It was expressive, round but not overtly rich — there is still great subdued elegance here.
Jacques Selosse NV Extra-Brut Mareuils sur Ay Sous Le Mont: Disgorged Feb 2015. Superbly complex but dense and hard to open. Surprisingly rose-y in colour and lots of different fruits all mashed together. Way too young to tell.
Jacques Selosse NV Extra-Brut Ay La Cote Faron: The minerality of the wine drove me wild. It’s all limestone, smoke and flint and immense in its potential. Some floral notes detected but not the most expressive champagne.
Summary is the though the wines are excellent, the strength of the 2008 vintage cannot be denied. 2008 base/vintage champagnes should be put away for at least 3-4 years minimum, although do let the hasty impatient ones like us try them for you!
All wines tasted in Hong Kong, April 2019.