More than three and a half thousand bottles of Champagne bottles worth €300,000 have been stolen from acclaimed grower Jacques Selosse in a heist described as 'well-organised'.
The Avize-based domain lost well over 5% of its average annual production in the raid on Thursday night last week.
Stolen bottles included the Initial cuvee, a blend of three vintages of Chardonnay, and Exquise, a Demi-Sec, each of which cost €57 per bottle ex-domain.
The top-of-the-line Substance Blanc de Blanc, made from multiple vintages, at €112 ex-domain, was also among the stolen bottles that had been packaged into palettes for a shipment scheduled to leave for the US and Japan today, said domaine secretary Florence Thunevin.
‘They had to be very well organised,’ Thunevin told Decanter.com. ‘They must have used trucks, but we still do not have a clue as to who they were.’ She confirmed media reports in France that the loss in value amounted to some €300,000.
Of equal concern to the domain was the theft of some 16,000 labels and 12,000 neck labels, which could lead to the production of counterfeit bottles, Thunevin added.
Owner Anselme Selosse does not live in the building where the bottles were stored, she said.
Domaine Jacques Selosse produces some 57,000 bottles of Champagne annually from grapes grown and harvested on 7.5 ha of vines spread over Chardonnay plots in the Côte des Blancs — Avize, Cramant, Oger, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger — and a few Montagne de Reims plots, dedicated to growing Pinot Noir, in Aÿ, Ambonnay and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.
So-called ‘grower Champagnes’, like Jacques Selosse, produce wines from grapes grown in vineyards owned exclusively by the domaine, rather than being purchased from other growers.
Written by Panos Kakaviatos