Michel Fallon

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Avize is home to luminaries such as Anselme Selosse and Pascal Agrapart, among many. Yet perhaps Michel Fallon is the most elusive of Champagnes, made by a man who creates a wine in the same methods and to the same rigorous standards of his longtime mentor and boss, Anselme Selosse; all the way down to the tiny production - about 900 bottles emerge from the cellar each year - these are mind-blowingly complex and worth all of your efforts to track down.

We've said this before - follow the winemaker - this applies to several people around the world of wine, but especially to one Anselme Selosse. His pupils gain notoriety just for working a harvest with him, and those with extended tutelage under his hand include Alexandre Chartogne, Olivier Collin, Aurelien Suenen and Bertrand Gautherot, to name a few. 

But what if the winemaker spent multiple decades learning every trick, tact and sleight of hand the mad genius employed? Such is the case with Michel Fallon, Anselme's right hand man. 

In 2008, Michel requested to purchase a small bit of the Avize harvest; Anselme, the consummate teacher, agreed and let Michel make the wine in his cellar that year. Ozanne was born, taking its name from the ancient title of the village of Avize. He made scarcely 400 bottles that year, and has kept back a bit of each vintage since as a solera system, a perpetual reserve from which he will draw to provide about 40% of the next release's bottled output; the remainder is from a single harvest.

Michel was able to increase production more than 200%, all the way to a hefty 900 bottles yearly with the purchase of a hectare within Avize. Recently, he even began bottling a second wine named for his wife Brigitte. This wine consists of the same grapes from Avize with the addition of grapes from his grower friends within the village. 

The hallmark of these wines is intensity - there is richness, spice, textural elements from both the aging in oak but also the quality of the fruit; there to carry it all is the brilliant, salty-clean minerality to provide incredible balance and zest. 

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