As regular readers know, I write a free, twice monthly wine column that’s distributed to newspapers across the country.
These columns are hosted by Grape Collective. If you don’t see my column in your local newspaper, please send an email to your paper’s editor and CC me (David – at – Terroirist.com).
In my latest column, I profile Anselme Selosse, the Champagne producer with a cult-like following.
“Nature is larger and bigger than all of us. It’s crazy to think that man can dominate nature.”
Anselme Selosse issued this profound statement while explaining his winemaking philosophy one recent morning at his small property in Avize, a village in Champagne’s Côte des Blancs.
“Wines must show the characteristics of the place,” he continued. “Illuminating the vineyard is my obsession.”
For Selosse, wine has a higher purpose. A wine must translate place, clearly expressing the characteristics of the soils and climate in which it’s grown.
This concept — the notion of terroir — is hardly unique. Winemakers across the world wax poetically about how “wine is made in the vineyard.” When Selosse took over his father’s winery in 1974, however, such talking points weren’t yet clichéd. In Champagne, especially, few producers cared about such things.
There were exceptions, of course. But most of the large producers that dominated the region sought simply to deliver a consistent product each year. They purchased grapes from thousands of growers across Champagne and paid by the ton. So growers sought to “dominate nature,” maximizing yields by utilizing fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides.
The results were predictably atrocious, but it didn’t matter. For most producers and virtually every consumer, Champagne wasn’t about wine; it was about luxury.
So Selosse’s philosophy wasn’t just unusual, it was downright revolutionary.
Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!