Born-again brilliance with new Champagne JmSélèque wines
Safe to say 2020 was a game of two halves for Champagne in Australia. Most of the year in lockdown, nowhere to go and nothing to celebrate. Those special things we associate with fizz – toasting milestones and new beginnings, coming together and being free – were put on ice, and the bubbles, alas, were shelved.
And then the floodgates opened: outpourings of gratitude for new-found freedom, long overdue catch-ups and a general realisation of the fragility of things, so that the pure preciousness of life was itself cause for jubilation.
So it was that the wines of JmSélèque and others disappeared in a flash at the turn of the year. Stocks of the superb Solessence wines were drained dry.
Thankfully that brief drought has been broken, and the wines of husband-and-wife grower team Jean-Marc and Oriane Sélèque are back with us. We’ve been bowled over by the support for these various cuvées since starting out together in early 2018; JmSélèque and CellarHand wish you a very happy 2021. May you find plenty of cause to carry on celebrating!
50% Chardonnay, 40% Meunier, 10% Pinot Noir. Fruit from seven crus on mostly flinty clay on chalky subsoil: Pierry, Moussy, Épernay, Mardeuil, Dizy, Boursault, Vertus. Base vintage 2018, 70% stainless steel tank and 30% oak barrels. 50% of the blend from wines in perpetual reserve (in tank and oak barrels). Two years ageing under crown seal. No fining or filtration. Dosage 2g/L.
The NV Brut Nature Solessence Nature 7 Villages is a blend of old-vine Chardonnay, Meunier and Pinot Noir bottled with no dosage. Time in the cellar (the base vintage is 2014) gives the wine a natural feeling of richness and depth that is quite compelling. Dried lemon, chamomile, crushed flowers and herbs lend a very pretty savory character throughout. This is such a pretty and expressive Champagne. Disgorged: October, 2019.92 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
A very striking rosé with strawberry-cream and watermelon aromas, in a super fresh mode. The palate has a very deep and vinous texture with fresh wild strawberries and raspberries, delivered in a zesty and appealing style that really holds impressive depth and detail. Beautiful, berry-biscuit finish. This is made using the Solessence base blend, to which is added 10% Pinot-Meunier juice after two days of maceration and 5% red Pinot Noir. Drink or hold.94 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com
100% pure Chardonnay sourced from 5 villages around Champagne, the Quintette is quintessentially refined. Honeycomb, apple blossom, gun smoke, toastiness, kumquat zest and raw sourdough on the nose and a combination of rich flavours and zippy acidity on the palate. Ripe apples and peaches, juicy lemons, baked white bread, toasted almonds, grilled pine nuts, vanilla, with clean and fresh acidity that balances the fullness beautifully. The wine was initially vinified in 50% oak and 50% stainless steel and has had no fining or filtration before secondary fermentation which shows in that nervy tension found in the glass.95 points. Curly Haslam-Coates, The Wine Front
With only 5040 bottles produced, this is one to tuck away in the cellar and open a bottle every now and then to really appreciate the slow, long development that this has ahead of it.
The 2013 Brut Nature Soliste Chardonnay is laced with the essence of citrus peel, white pepper, flowers, mint and crushed rocks. The natural ripeness and fruit intensity of the year are present, but they feel attenuated, almost trapped by the non-dosé style. As good as the 2013 is, a touch of dosage might have allowed for a fuller expression of the vintage. Disgorged: September, 2018.91 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Attractive, fresh, ripe-strawberry and wild-raspberry aromas with a lightly spiced pastry background. Really vibrant. There’s a super fine, chalky edge that is swathed in vinous, fleshy red-fruit flavour. Here Meunier is elevated to a more lively, vertical style. Drink now or hold. 94 points. 94 points.Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com
Preserved lemons, guava peel, green mangoes, green papaya, almonds, shortbread, muffin and biscuits. Medium-to full-bodied but very layered with tightly poised acidity that takes the bright citrus and stone fruit by storm. Quite long and mineral on the finish. Drink now.94 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com
Dried bread crust, lemon meringue, apple strudel, guava peel and cinnamon. On the edgier side of affairs, this is a very mineral style of Champagne with forthright acidity and lots of tart pears and apples. Drink now. 93 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com
72 % Chardonnay, 14 % Meunier, 14 % Pinot Noir. The Partition is always a blend of the same seven parcels, composed as a symphony of seven musical notes. Terroirs: La Justice, Vertus Premier Cru Chardonnay, planted in 1950; Moque-Bouteille, Dizy Premier Cru Chardonnay, planted in 1985; Les Basses-Ronces, Mardeuil Chardonnay, planted in 1982; Les Frileux- Epernay Chardonnay, planted in 1959; Les Tartières / Les Porgeons, Pierry Premier Cru Chardonnay, planted in 1985; Les Gayères Pierry Premier Cru Pinot Noir, planted in 1975; and Les Gouttes d’Or, Pierry Premier Cru Meunier; planted in 1951 and 1953. Ploughing of soils, strict pruning and control of yields, favouring natural balance and biodiversity. Individual vinification of each plot. 100% of the wine with alcoholic fermentation in oak barrels without malolactic conversion. Natural cold stabilisation, no fining and no filtration. Bottling in spring with a cork; ageing on the lees for at least 48 months. Dosage 2 g/L.