Ulysse Collin Les Pierrières Extra Brut Cote de Sezannais Blanc de Blancs NV 2013/2014 Base


Collin says of this Les Pierrières  “a great vintage for chardonnay—maybe the best I’ve seen [on the Coteaux du Morin and Côte de Sézanne terroirs].”

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One of the key parcels in the estate, located in Vert la Gravelle, close to the cellars in Congy. The fabulous Collin Les Pierrières is a 1.2-hectare chalky site containing large chunks of black silex or onyx. There is only 30cm of topsoil before the vines hit the soft chalk (and silex) of the bedrock. The vines are now 35 years old and enjoy a southeast aspect with a negligible 10% slope.

Naturally fermented in neutral oak casks, the wine was put to bottle after 11 months and then disgorged in March 2018 after 36 months on lees, with 1.7 grams dosage only. It was neither fined nor filtered. This is a super intense and mineral wine, incredibly earthy and salty with a grapefruity, pithy drive and freshness The flint certainly seems to bring something special, magnifying the salty, smoky edge of the wine. It can be kept for 10-15 years no problem.

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.

[box]Antonio Galloni “There is little question Collin’s wines are now on the same level as those of his mentor, Anselme Selosse.”[/box]

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.

Pinot Noir

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.

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