- Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France
"Sélèque’s wines are precise and intelligently judged, feeling contemporary in character without being extreme. Jean-Marc Sélèque is currently overseeing a transition in the estate, and his wines are likely to become even more complex and soil-expressive as he continues to refine his viticultural and winemaking methods." –Peter Liem, ChampagneGuide.net, April 2015
"At this writing (2014), Champagne is arguably the most dynamic wine region in France- a country where almost nothing viticulturally is standing still anymore—and it would be accurate to view Jean-Marc at the vanguard of this shift toward more artisanal farming and production." –Roy Cloud, Vintage ’59
Jean-Marc Sélèque came back to his family domaine in the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay in 2008. The Coteaux is a part of the Vallée de la Marne that runs south of Epernay, mirroring the landscape of the Côte des Blancs, situated just to the east. From the vineyards in 1er Cru Pierry, you can see the hillside of Cramant just across the valley. As the terroir and exposition here is similar to the Côtes des Blancs, you find mostly Chardonnay planted in this area of the Vallée de la Marne. Jean-Marc has vines in seven villages – Pierry, Moussy, Epernay, Dizy, Mardeuil, Boursault, and Vertus (in the Côte des Blancs).
Standing in Jean-Marc’s vineyards in Pierry, the work in the vineyards is evident. The soil is teeming with life. No herbicides have been used since 2008, and the vineyards had been freshly ploughed. Work is completely biodynamic in Pierry, Moussy, Epernay and Dizy (covering 4 of the 7.5 hectares). As Jean-Marc is a one-man show, he cannot make biodynamic treatments in all of his vineyards, so he farms organically for the vineyards that are farthest away from the winery. If absolutely necessary, he will use a synthetic treatment for mildew, as he prefers it to using too much copper-sulfur in his vineyards. In 2014, all vineyards were farmed 100% organically, and no synthetic treatments for mildew were necessary.
The vines average 35-40 years old and efforts are made to keep yields down. Average yields for the area are 85hl/ha; for chez Sélèque, they are far lower, at 55-70hl/ha.
In the cellar, Jean-Marc is using mostly stainless steel, but is increasing the amount of wine fermented and aged in 300L and 600L barrels (currently about 35% of production.) He buys used barrels from Burgundy and purchases 3-4 new barrels per year. Wild yeasts start fermentations in barrel and in stainless, but Jean-Marc will use a neutral yeast from Champagne if necessary. Malolactic fermentation happens naturally- it is not induced or blocked- so it occurs as it will, on some barrels or tanks and not on others. The amount of time on the fine lees is detailed in each wine below and Jean-Marc is now (as of 2010) aging his wines on cork instead of crown cap. Cane sugar is used for dosage on the Tradition NV and concentrated must is used for dosage on the other wines.