As harvest is once again upon us, I thought it would be fun to elaborate on a few Champagne producers who have been working in a different way for a few decades and who have come together under the name Trait-d'Union.                      

The group is made up of Champagne Selosse, Champagne Larmandier-Bernier, Champagne Coulon, Champagne Jacquesson, Champagne Egly-Oriet and Champagne Jacques Prevost - six contemporaries, friends and Champagne de Terroir pioneers.

Trait-d'Union is a dash, or hyphen; the little (-) symbol which links individual words together. The words keep their individual meaning, yet the dash links them to the other words. The Trait-d'Union Group chose this name for exactly that reason; they are individual growers linked by a shared respect for their land and their focus on quality, yet they remain very much their own entities. Or, put in a more poetic way as done by them in spring:

"A common appellation
Paths that cross
Villages that share
Gestures that connect and give a sense
Of wines of reference
From the same sun and different soils
Words exchanged
A moment ‘avisé’
A tasting
A hyphen. ‘Trait-d-union’ "

I visited four of the six members and was very impressed by the quality and uniqueness of the Champagnes. This is probably linked to the strong character of each of the vignerons and the fact that they all focus on quality, terroir and a living soil. Below is a little more information on the four producers I visited, and my version of their grape growing and wine making philosophies.

Anselme Selosse struck me first and foremost as a very charismatic philosopher, a rebellious winemaker always on the look out to push the boundaries. As we arrived, we spoke about Buñuel, Sartre, education and upbringing long before we got on to the subject of wine. Anselme believes that we all need something to escape to, an emotional exuberant revelation. This is what he strives for in his wines. His work as a winemaker revolves around three axes - the wine making, the terroir and harmony. He compares his winery to an artist's studio - the place where an artist can express himself most freely and in harmony.