After working internships in Napa Valley and Yarra Valley, Jean-Marc Sélèque returned to his home village of Pierry, located in the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay. The family estate was founded in 1965 by Jean-Marc’s grandfather, whose father-in-law also happened to be the president of the village’s cooperative. His father joined the estate about a decade later, with Jean-Marc following suit as of 2008.
A fervent believer in organic and biodynamic farming, Jean-Marc establishes the foundations of his champagnes through labor intensive practices in the vineyards, which include boosting the health of the soils and the ecosystem in which they’re grown. He began implementing biodynamic farming in 2010, although the estate is not certified. Additionally, Jean-Marc also brought all fruit back into the cellar, meaning that no grapes have been sold to the cooperative for about 15 years. Today, the estate comprises approximately 9 hectares of vines spread across seven villages, which are broken down into about 45 different parcels.
After working at larger facilities in California and Australia, Jean-Marc realized that he favored a slower, more delicate approach in the cellar. All fermentations are done with native yeasts, specifically from one isolated strain that he identified back in 2018. Prior to long bottle aging, all wines undergo an extensive élevage in tank and oak barrels, and all wines undergo malolactic fermentation completely naturally, that said, he doesn’t encourage or block malolactic fermentation. As of 2015, Jean-Marc eschewed the practices of fining and filtration, which also happened to be the same year that he brought a temperature-controlled press into the cellar (temperature-controlled harvest trucks and tanks followed in 2017 and 2021, respectively).
With regards to barrels, Jean-Marc tends to prefer larger-format oak vessels (350 and 600-liter barrels), with new oak kept to an extreme minimum. Sélèque champagnes are broken down into three different categories: Solessence, terroir-specific Soliste, and Partition. These world-class bubbles are known for their texture, complexity, long time sur-lie, and low levels of sulfur (only about 20-30 mg/L going forward, thanks to Jean-Marc’s new on-site sulfur-making machine). Of the top tier Soliste and Partition range that’s being offered on Crurated, only some two to three thousand bottles are made of each bottling. Everything here deserves special effort to seek out