Grand Cru Sillery Champagne by Francois Seconde

Popped to celebrate 22 years since The Editor moved to the UK. Grand Cru Sillery from François Secondé is another one of these Champagnes that use a perpetual reserve, this one started in 1982.

The notorious Champagne scribe Steven Pritchard worried me when we were talking about this just before I popped it. “I hope it is a reductive perpetual reserve rather than an oxidative solera!”, he terrified me by suggesting.

Let us find out!

Grand Cru Sillery Francois Seconde

Grand Cru Sillery NV (2018 base vintage), François Secondé

It is not oxidative – relief!

There is a lot of mushroom action going on here and it is very stony – scree slope chips type of action. This is quite appealing.

It also shows a lot of elegant and refined fruit, that is mainly of the candied orange and lemon peel character. This is a set of aromas I get from Roederer Collection 24x, so it seems fairly certain the this is the product of using a perpetual reserve.

I love these candied fruit aromas. They are both energetic and lively whilst showing mature complexity. Deee-lish.

There is a hint of fresh lemon and elderflower, but this is not the kind of nose that really shouts about its cepage. It is two thirds Pinot Noir and one third Chardonnay. When I asked The Editor what he thought about the cepage based on sniffing it he said, “It is hard to say… Mostly Chardonnay?” If he cannot say, it is difficult to tell.

Even with those mushroom and candied fruit aromas, this is a perfectly fresh nose. Good. Champagne should have some freshness.

Now there is more hint of the cepage on the palate. I get hints of cocoa from the Pinot and there are flavours of walnuts that I associate with Montage de Reims Chardonnay.

The main flavours are the delicious, candied fruit flavours. Mature and complex, yes, but very lively and energetic.

Indeed, for a fizz that has undergone malolactic fermentation it is bastarding-acidic. Yowch, this hurts, but pain is good with fizz. Up to a point – I can manage half a bottle of this easily enough.

There are more of those mushroom flavours. Rich, with just the slightest hint of earthiness to them.

That earth is nowhere near and upfront as stony, chipped rock characters. It seems to speak of a place very strongly. This adds to the complexity and, perhaps oddly, the freshy-hewn rock seems vivacious and fresh.

And it is fresh, there are lemon and elderflower flavours on show and all that acidity, man! I did not have tooth cavities before I drank this, but I might by my last glass!

Do not worry, though, it is quite harmonious, and we all brush our teeth like good little children before going to bed, don’t we?
That balance comes from a dynamic tension between the candied fruit, stoniness, fungal flavours and acid. Charles Atlas would be proud of how this keeps its extremities in equilibrium. There is such great vigour here.

OK, it is not as good as Roederer Collection, but then it is an Ayrton cheaper per pop (normal retail prices) and for that much, this is an enjoyable drink. If you have some it might be worth giving it a year or two in the cellar, I think it is good enough to merit that compliment. Good stuff.

Champagne Grand Cru Sillery back label

Champagne Grand Cru Sillery back label