Finally, we have some reasons to celebrate, and celebrate we shall, with wines from two of our top grower Champagne producers, Jacquesson and JM Seleque. Champagne is a passion of ours, and if you remember our offer from last year, you will know that we tend to look further than the iconic mainstream brands of Champagne, whom whilst make some serious cuvees, don't achieve the same electric, mineral, savoury and pure expressions of the regions best small grower producers.
We look for wines with intensity, persistence and freshness, and this starts with hard work in the vineyard yielding quality fruit, and micromanagement in the cellar, nurturing the wines through primary and secondary ferments and in to bottle. Jacquesson and Seleque are producers who believe in this approach, make no sacrifices for quality and have deservedly generated international acclaim despite their small production.
You will impress many friends with these bottles over the festive season, friends that appreciate more than a flashy label. You can serve in flutes, though regular wine glasses also suit, as the power and aromas can be appreciated like a regular wine.
Jacquesson Cuvee No. 742
“No Champagne house today is on a trajectory as steep as Jacquesson” Tyson Stelzer, Champagne Guide 2019
Jacquesson is owned and run by the Chiquet brothers, Jean-Herve and Laurent, who have together been at the helm for 25 vintages. Their approach to non-vintage Champagne is unique, pioneering, and attempt to express more than just a consistent house recipe. Each number represents a blend that is focused on a specific vintage, with blending from vintages around that.
The 742 focuses on the 2014 vintage, quite old for a non-vintage Champagne, and the reason why Jacquesson deliver power, richness, intensity and toastiness through their numbers cuvees. Pinot Noir was the star in this vintage and it makes up 59% of the blend, with Chardonnay the remainder. Pinot Noir based Champagnes also deliver more flesh and texture, Chardonnay delivering more citrus and cut. The dosage is 1.5gms per litre (super dry), and the flavours are green apple, orchard fruits, grilled hazelnuts, walnuts, florals. The palate is intense, acidic and long.
Jacquesson are based in the small, premier cru town of Dizy, but source from vineyards they own in nearby grand cru towns of Ay, Avize and Oiry.
The wine has won over critics with 94 from Galloni at Vinous, 93+ from Kelley at Wine Advocate (Robert Parker), 93 Suckling, 93 Wine Spectator, 92 Burghound and 92 Decanter. That is ultra-consistent.
JM Seleque Solessence Extra Brut NV
This Champagne is by Jean-Marc Seleque, a star on the rise in Champagne and making serious waves with vineyards his grandfather planted in and around the premier cru village of Pierrey in 1965. We first met Jean-Marc at a wine tasting in Boston in 2017, were blown away by his quality, and he mentioned he was looking for an importer in Australia. Not long after, one of our most trusted suppliers had a similar moment in a restaurant in Paris, booked a visit to the domain, and now the wines are here.
Jean-Marc shares a similar philosophy to the Jacquesson brothers, where there is no sacrifice, he won’t make to maximise quality. The yields are extremely low (about 30% lower than the average for Champagne), he farms organically with some biodynamic practices and ploughs his vineyards with horse and cart. He is as exact with his attention to detail in the cellar and the wines we have tasted from him are pure and effortless. He works independently and farms just 7.5 hectares.
The Selossence is a pure, fine, elegant champagne. It is 50% Chardonnay, 40% Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir, from his younger vines, which still average 40 years old. The dosage is again low, only 2.5gm per litre, and the wine is full of energy and freshness. Apple, pear, citrus, brioche, almond and mint flavours. It is a very bright, intense Champagne and a pleasure to drink.
Our other favourite producers to look out for this season;
- Agrapart – Avize
- Andre Clouet - Ambonnay, Bouzy
- Bereche – Ludes, Montagne de Reims
- Bollinger – Ay
- Egly Ouriet – Ambonnay
- Jacquesson – Dizy
- Larmandier-Bernier – Vertus
- Pierre Peters – Mesnil-sur-Oger
- Pol Roger - Epernay
- Prevost - Gueux
- Savart – Ecueil
- Vilmart – Bouzy