Champagne Jacques Selosse

Country of Origin: France
Location: Avize, Côte des Blancs
People: Anselme Selosse & son Guillaume, Owners & Winemakers
Viticulture: Practicing Organic


Media Links
Vinography: Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse
The New York Times: Taking Champagne Back to Its Roots
The Times Weekly: The Terrorist Manifesto of Anselme Selosse
Champagne Tasting: Jacques Selosse - La Cote Faron
Rare Wine Co Blog: Jacques Selosse: Out of the Wilderness
Sharon's Wine Blog: Jacques Selosse Champagne: a four-alarm fire for the senses
One Brilliant Bottle: Domaine Jacques Selosse

Social Media
Jacques Selosse Facebook

Every decade or so, a winemaker comes along who, through the force of his ideas, and the brilliance of his work, has the power to change the course of wine history. Anselme Selosse is such an individual—and the man most responsible for the revolution that's changing Champagne for the better. Since taking over Champagne Jacques Selosse in 1980, Anselme has used the uncompromising intensity of his wines—as well as no small amount of charisma—to challenge Champagne's old definitions for excellence. If ten or twenty years from now, small, quality-driven growers have finally taken their share of the power—and the big houses have fully embraced the ideas of low yields, chemical-free vineyards and terroir-driven wines—Anselme will deserve much of the credit.

Anselme came of age in the 1970s, a time when the Champagne industry was famously, and pervasively, indifferent to fruit quality. A few big producers called the shots, and small growers wielded little power. Nowhere else in France were "brands" so dominant, with fruit bought and sold as a commodity, and with the town of origin as a the sole determinant of price. In this system, growers had no incentive for lower yields, or labor-intensive organic viticulture, and vineyard work generally was abysmal.

It took a different perspective to understand what was wrong, and Anselme was the man to provide it. He had studied oenology not in Champagne, but in Burgundy, where he was introduced to such greats as Coche-Dury, Lafon and Leflaive. There he also learned the kind of commitment needed to produce profound, individualistic wines from great terroirs. In 1974, Anselme completed his studies and began to develop his ideas at his father's estate, centered in Avize on the Côte de Blancs. Six years later the domaine became his, and he threw himself into radical change, dramatically reducing yields and farming organically. Working with his wife Corinne, he adopted ideas that were starting to become accepted in other parts of France but were still considered heretical by Champagne's establishment.

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. Note: Many commentators have called Selosse's wines "Burgundy with bubbles," and, like Burgundy, the wines benefit from extended cellaring and/or aeration before serving, and they should not be served too cold.

Vinous, July 2019
"This is a positively stunning set of wines from Anselme and Guillaume Selosse. I have a hard time thinking about another tasting here in which so many wines were at such a stratospheric level. For starters, the Initiale, Version Originale (V.O.) and Rosé are all elevated by the quality of the 2013 vintage on which they are based. The 2012 lieux-dits capture all of the intensity and richness of the year, while the 2007 Vintage marks a transition to Guillaume Selosse’s stewardship. I can’t say much except to reiterate just how compelling and utterly singular these Champagnes are."

Vinous article "Selosse – Lieux-Dits Dinner at NoMad" by Antonio Galloni on July 11, 2017
"Because interest in grower Champagne is so strong today, it is sometimes easy to forget that Anselme Selosse has represented the cutting edge in the region for several decades. Selosse pioneered concepts that today are considered standard by many young producers, including sustainable farming, attention to yields, harvesting at full ripeness and minimal handling in the cellar. Along the way, Selosse has inspired and/or mentored many of today’s leading younger producers. More recently, Selosse has begun to pass the torch onto his son, Guillaume, who seems very much prepared to take the family domaine into the next generation.

Selosse’s lieu-dit, or single-parcel, Champagnes are an expression of a belief that site is the single most important variable in wine quality. In the mid-1990s, Anselme Selosse began putting this theory to test with Contraste, a 100% Blanc de Noirs from La Côte Faron in Aÿ done with a perpetual reserve method in which the base vintage is blended with a reserve that includes all previous vintages. In the mid 2000s, Selosse expanded that concept to six lieu-dit Champagnes that are available together only in a limited-edition release of about 300 boxed sets. The lieux-dits collection is composed of three Chardonnays (Cramant Chemin de Chalons, Les Mesnil Sur Oger Les Carelles and Avize Les Chantereines) and three Pinot Noirs (Mareuil sur Aÿ Sous Le Mont, Aÿ La Côte Faron and Ambonnay La Bout du Clos, which is in reality a 80% Pinot/20% Chardonnay blend)."


  • Selosse NV 'Initial' Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne Grand Cru AOC
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 95 (11/30/2019)

    Abundantly aromatic, featuring honeysuckle, graphite and star anise notes, this is a mouthwatering version for fans of rich, toasty wines. Lime-laced acidity provides a vibrant backbone for the layers of nectarine, grilled nut, mandarin orange peel, saffron and toasted brioche flavors, creating beautiful balance. Long and expressive on the finely detailed finish. Drink now through 2027.
  • Selosse NV 'Initial' Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne Grand Cru AOC
    Rating: 94 (7/27/2018)

    The NV Extra Brut Initial is remarkably open for this wine, with a bit more tropical character than is often the case. Apricot, butter, ash, graphite and passion fruit give this year’s edition of Initial a distinctly overt, almost flamboyant character. The wine is very, very pretty, but more giving than it typically is at this stage. This release is a blend of vintages 2011, 2010 and 2009. Disgorged July 24, 2017. Dosage is 2 grams per liter.
  • Selosse NV 'Initial' Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne Grand Cru AOC
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 95 (11/15/2018)

    Like a pointillism painting, this graceful style is as much about the details as the whole. A nose of rose petal, saffron, graphite and ground cardamom notes pulls you in, with flavors of green pear, toast, honey and lemon pith. Mouthwatering acidity carries the flavor range on the long finish.
  • Selosse NV 'Initial' Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne Grand Cru AOC
    Rating: 94 (7/24/2019)

    The NV (2013) Initiale is a remarkable wine with which to kick off this tasting. Apricot jam, marmalade, chamomile and dried flowers all flesh out effortlessly. Tropical overtones develop with time in the glass. A Champagne of textural depth and intensity, the Initiale shows off the natural exuberance of 2013 to great effect. Hints of pastry and butter add the closing shades of complexity. In most years, Initiale is more focused in style, but this release is unusually ample and rich. I loved it.
  • Selosse NV 'Initial' Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne Grand Cru AOC
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 96 (8/18/2021)

    A voluptuous Champagne that entices with its lovely, lightly viscous texture and its fragrant thread of exotic spices that waft on the nose and wind through the palate. Shows impeccable balance, with a lithe spine of acidity providing focus and definition for the opulent range of blackberry coulis, kumquat and passion fruit, with notes of coffee liqueur, roasted nut and honeycomb. Disgorged August 2020. Drink now through 2028.