Back to the event, which began with a complimentary Champagne cocktail hour for premium Vinous members (explained on the site). This was no ordinary Champagne tasting. It featured the six Champagnes from Jacques Selosse that he refers to as the Lieu-Dit (single vineyard) Project. In the fall of 2010, Anselme (Jacques son) announced that he'd be releasing a collection of six lieu-dit (single-vineyard) wines, each promising to be the definitive expression of a noble Champagne village. As I understand it his intent is to demonstrate the difference the site makes in the crafting of a wine. He has succeeded in spades.
Quite simply these were the best Champagnes I have ever tasted. Only 200 special cases, holding 1 bottle each of these magnificent wines are made. They are extremely rare, very expensive and very difficult to acquire. Antonio was extremely gracious and generous to serve them prior to the dinner.
The Lieux-Dits Pinot Noir (Blanc de Noirs)
La Cote Faron Blanc de Noirs is from the village of Ay. I think this was from the 2005 vintage. Whatever the vintage, it was magnificent, beginning with its golden yellow hue and earthy bouquet. On the palate it was medium-bodied, with impeccable balance and very elegant.
Le Bout du Clos is from Ambonnay. This was my favorite of the six. It had everything; yeasty bouquet, creamy palate, layer upon layer of complexity and a lengthy finish. I believe this is a blend of “04, ’05 and ’06 vintages. Only 200 bottles of this is made, so it is only available in the Lieu-Dits 6 pack.
Sous Le Mont is from Mareuil-Sur-Ay, is comprised of the “05 and ’06 vintages. I found this to be a little less complex than the two previous wines, but delicious nonetheless.
The Lieux-Dits (Blanc de Blancs)
The Chemin de Chalons, from Cramant and based on wines from 2003 to 2005. Stunning wine, but perhaps a step behind the Pinot Noirs.
The Les Chantereines from Avize, was clearly the best of the Chardonnay based wines and on a par with the Le Bout du Clos is from Ambonnay in my opinion. It had great focus, depth and complexity. I believe this was from vintages ’04, ’05 and ’06. Like the Champagne from Ambonay, only 200 bottles of this is made, so it is only available in the Lieu-Dits 6 pack.
The final wine of this group, Les Carelles from Le Mesnil-sur-Oge
was a half-step behind wine from Avize. Wonderful balance and complexity on the palate.
The Dinner and the wines
The wines served as part of the dinner all drank very well, especially the 2004 Baroli. Yes they were young, but they were really delicious and will provide awesome drinking for a couple of decades at least.
All dishes were served with very generous shavings of fresh white truffles. Life is good!
The dinner began with an absolutely delicious Truffled Beef Carne Cruda.
As good as these wines were, my friends and I were fortunate to be seated at Antonio’s table for the dinner. He continued his generosity by bringing some amazing wines from his cellar to share with the attendees. These, along with the Selosse Champagnes, were the highlight wines of the evening in my opinion.