Œnothèque: Our library of previous Champagnes of the Month - March 2020











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Our “Champagne of the Month” for March is produced by Jean-Marc Sélèque from the village of Pierry on the Côteaux Sud d’Épernay. Jean-Marc controls 9 hectares of vines across seven villages, three on the Côteaux Sud d’Épernay at Pierry, Moussy and Épernay, two in the Vallée de la Marne at Mardeuil and Dizy and finally two on the Côte des Blancs at Vertus and Boursault. The vine stock consists of 60% Chardonnay with 30% Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir.


At the helm since 2008, Jean-Marc set about making a number of changes to farming and production to realize his wine-making goals. These included: conversion to organic farming which in turn led to biodynamics. A state of the art new winery was recently constructed by the slopes of Pierry beneath Chavot. Here Jean-Marc’s new Coquard press enables a gentler pressing of the grapes which in turn allows for lower quantities of Sulfur to be added to the wines; cooler fermentation and longer lees contact. He has also increased his stock of oak barrels to allow more vinification in wood.


“Les Solistes” – Infusion Meunier”, as the name suggests (the soloists); is a vintage wine coming from the 2011 harvest, using a single grape variety – Meunier and coming from a single plot – “Les Charmiers” in Pierry which was planted in 1964.  A rosé wine; it undergoes a 48 hour maceration before a 6 month fermentation in fûts de chêne where malolactic fermentation is prevented. The wine is neither fined nor filtered and is allowed 45 months ageing on the lees in the cellar.


The lieu-dit “Les Charmiers” consists of clay-limestone soil that also has a presence of flint and deeper down the subsoil is chalky. The plot is cultivated by horse, pruning is short and yields strictly controlled. Preserving the natural bio-diversity of the vineyard is paramount.


“Les Solistes – Infusion Meunier” was disgorged in January 2016 with a dosage of 3gl, alcohol is at 12.5% abv and it is sealed with a natural cork.


Tasted 16:25 Sunday 16th February 2020 (fruit day in the lunar calendar)


Characteristics: Pronounced intensity with primary aromas of rose, grape, red apple, pear drop, orange peel, pink grapefruit, wild strawberry, red cherry, mango, cantaloupe melon, lychee, medicinal, lavender and black pepper. It is bursting with mineral tones, not only a subtle earthiness and evident chalky salinity but even a hint of gunpowder and struck flint! There are secondary notes of biscuit, toast, cloves, nutmeg, charred wood, caffè mocha and vanilla. Tertiary aromas include walnut, hazelnut, cobnut, dried fig, prune, dried cranberry, hay, honey, marmalade and cinnamon. The mousse is delicate and the finish is long.


Whilst this champagne is drinking excellently now it would definitely be suitable for further ageing.


Once again, Jean-Marc has produced a terrific wine – a fitting tribute to the lieu-dit indeed. The three soloists: vintage, plot and variety all play their part and each are recognisable but much like when the Three Tenors performed, they harmonise beautifully.


It is truly versatile and will be equally at home paired with food or quaffing for pure pleasure.


Price circa €45.00