Ulysse Collin Les Maillons Blanc de Noirs based on equal portions of 2013 and 2014 vintage. the current release includes a significantly higher portion of reserve wine than previously, (and is all the better for it!), and was aged in three to 6-year-old barrels (including some foudres) for the first seven months of its life. Disgorged in March 2018 with only 2.4 grams. This a gloriously perfumed, red-fruited wine with wonderful purity and mineral energy.
Blanc de Noirs from a site called Les Maillons in Barbonne-Fayel, near the town of Sézanne (in the Cote de Sézannais). It’s a 2.5-hectare parcel that was originally planted with massale vines in 1971 on a slope of heavy, iron-rich clay. This is a superb Pinot terroir that can produce ripe grapes.
Olivier Collin is one of a group of young growers who worked with and revered Anselme Selosse. Four years later Collin took control of his family’s 8 hectares of vines and the making of the wine.
Collin’s vineyards run allow organic/biodynamic principles. Ploughing, cover crops, no herbicides or pesticides. Yields are kept lower than normal in Champagne and strict sorting occurs at harvest.
In the Congy cellar, the grapes are pressed in a traditional 1950s Coquard press. Nothing is added to the wines and there is no fining or filtration. Each pressing ages separately in old barrels, generally large format is used.
A wine region of France approximately 160km East of Paris. It is also the name of the wines produced from the area. Most famously it is a sparkling wine that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and is aged on lees. Although there is the occasional still wine you can find around particularly Pinot Noir. The fantastically named Bouzy Rouge is one such example. It is possible to find them but very rare are single vintage, single vineyard, single variety Champagnes (I can only name one and it was produced only 47 times between 1900 and 1999). Why? Due to the large area the region covers, and the challenging weather the houses blended wines to produce a consistent and reliable product every year. This is where the growers come in. They relish the chance to show off vintage variation and small plot wines.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one trick pony, it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too. Adding body, perfume and richness to Champagne it also adds red berry and floral/rose petal notes along with spice and subtle layers.