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When Champagne legend Anselme Selosse announced his retirement in 2018 the wine world took the news in stride because his son Guillaume was at the ready to succeed him. This is because Guillaume's winemaking talents were already known through his own Champagne venture which he initiated in 2009 with his Guillaume S. Selosse "Au Dessus du Gros Mont" Cramant Blanc de Blancs. In 2012 Guillaume went in a completely different direction producing a "Largillier" Blanc de Noirs working with Aube grower Jérôme Coessens. Coessens exclusively owns the eight-acre "Largillier" lieu-dix in the village of Villes-sur-Arce situated about an hour's drive northeast of the town of Chablis. This is a terrific site that is planted to 45-year-old Pinot Noir vines, with a southern exposure and features clay-limestone soils whose sub-soil is the same Kimmeridgian chalk that is found in the Grands Crus of Chablis. The vineyard's chalk and clay mix is not very fertile and this retards the development of the vines; as a result, the few grapes that are produced attain a high level of maturity with all the potential to make exceptional wine. Selosse's "Largillier" drew rave reviews from the start and today the current edition fetches more than five hundred dollars a bottle-that is, if you can find it. What about the Champagnes that Jérôme Coessens produces from his own "Largillier" grapes, you may ask? Turns out they are pretty darn great in their own right and a whole lot more affordable than Guillaume's.

Called "most energetic" and a "producer to watch" by the Wine Advocate's Stephan Reinhardt, Jérôme Coessens crafts his distinctive, Pinot Noir Champagnes with a Burgundian sensibility and a studious appreciation of terroir. For example, Coessens has identified four different sections of the different textures of the soil, enabling him to create a range of diverse styles and flavors all drawn from his single lieu-dix. His work is not dogmatic but is grounded in two principles: to respect all living things and to intervene as little as possible. We have snagged a small parcel of his main Blanc de Noirs cuvee (just 660 cases for the world) that is derived from Largillier's two central sub-plots- aptly named fruit and fleur.

This still very fresh 2015 opens impressively with delicate notes of white flowers, pears and almond butter. In the mouth one encounters a silky middle weight Champagne that proffers effusive notions of white cherries, raspberries and lemon confit that are joined by intriguing salinity and capped by a chiseled, stony finish. This masterful amalgamation of purity, power and finesse is one more example of the greatness emerging from Champagne's Aube district today.
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