Ulysse Collin Les Roises 2013 has been disgorged in March 2018 with 2.4 grams dosage is added. 2008 is the first release of Les Roises. A 0.6 hectare parcel in Congyplanted to massale Chardonnay vines that are now 60 years old. The site offers clay above the bedrock of chalk with flint. It helps to make a riper, denser wine. Low yields off the old vines adds concentration. “You feel the south here,” says Collin, yet it is a density that is beautifully balanced by incredible, mouth-watering freshness.
The wine is stunning. I tasted in on Boxing Day 2018. It is not an overt kind of wine. But drinking a subtle, creamy, and elegant Chardonnay. It evolved with time open and the nuances kept me engaged and excited to drink it. Dry, and fairly light on the palate. Over time it will add more body and character. But I loved it right there and then. If this bottle is still here next Boxing Day I shall drink it myself.
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.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation.