Anselme Selosse: A Legendary Character
But Anselme Selosse is a character indeed, a legendary character, in fact, within the small world of viticulture. He’s known, of course, in the Champagne, but he’s gained notoriety outside of his domain as a pioneer, both for the different techniques he uses and the philosophy he practices. He was, to give just one example, the first to use oak barrels to magnify his wines.
But first and foremost, he’s known as the first to think terroir in a region that wasn’t too sensitive to it. Of course, the notion of Grand Crus and so on exists here, but no one before him went as far in the concept. An example? Out of six small parcels he created a unique collection of wines, each named and vinified differently.
It’s this combination of simplicity and tremendously innovative thinking that led him and his wife Corinne to start a hotel. Although, strictly speaking, Les Avisés isn’t a hotel. This is their home, or more specifically, their ideal home.
With help from the architect Bruno Borrione, Corinne and Anselme carefully restored this 19th-century castle, taking advantage of the largesse offered by the original building. They kept the large windows that open widely on the park and vineyards, allowing amazing, natural light to penetrate each room.
The interior design combines the modern with a touch of tradition; all of the spirit you can recognize in Anselme’s Champagne can be discovered in the property. These two personnages, the modern and the traditional, filter throughout the property, and Anselme’s good humour can be seen in the naming of the 10 rooms that make up Les Avisés: Prosit. Salud. Cheers. Sköl. All names coming from different cultures, but conveying the same idea: conviviality and shared happiness.
At Les Avisés, A True Taste of Champagne
For further evidence of this merging of modernity and tradition, look no further than Corinne and Anselme’s choice of Chef Stéphane Rossillon. You’ll find no stuffy menu at Les Avisés, or gourmet products hiding behind a gallon of fluffy sauce. Rather, here you’ll be served the foods you’d expect to experience in the Champagne: the taste of the local vegetables, magnified by Stéphane’s savoir-faire. Of course, the meals are accompanied by some wine coming directly from Anselme’s cellar. In addition, the encyclopedic wine list is made exclusively of winemakers who are personal friends of Anselme, from throughout France and abroad.
Should you stumble upon this place while wandering the Champagne region, there is no doubt that you should visit. And if I can add a secret, just between you and I, should you get through the door of Les Avisés, you might just be lucky enough to meet with Anselme Selosse in his cellar—and enjoy one of the most memorable tastings of your life.
If only you knew someone with an in.
About the Author
Born and bred among the vines of Burgundy, veteran B&R Guide, Trip Planner and oenophile Olivier Maillard distills his passions—for France, for wine, for Morocco, for life—into columns for The Slow Road.