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Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Maillons Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut NV

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The current release is based on 2015 with 60% reserve wine from 2014, disgorged in March 2019. This beautifully textured and perfumed Blanc de Noirs comes from a site called Les Maillons in Barbonne-Fayel, near the town of Sézanne (in the Côte de Sézanne). Of Les Maillons’ six hectres, Collin farms 2.5, and is the only grower to work the soil here. The commute by tractor takes a good two hours each way from the cellar! The Ulysse Collin parcel was originally planted with massale vines in 1971 on a slope of heavy, iron-rich clay. This is a superb Pinot terroir and can ripen the grapes to north of 12% potential alcohol easily—something very rare in Champagne. Despite the power, the location of the site also helps to conserve acidity and freshness thanks to its ventilated, east-facing exposure. The current release includes a significantly higher portion of reserve wine than the last release (and is of course all the better for it). It was aged in three- to six-year-old barrels (including some foudres) for the first seven months of its life. Disgorged with only 2.4 grams. - Importer Note

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Today the fame of the Coteaux du Petit Morin and Côte de Sézanne terroirs—for lovers of great grower wines anyway—rest on the shoulders of one vigneron. It’s just as well that those shoulders belong to Olivier Collin. Collin was one of a group of young growers (several of whom are now revered) who fell into the orbit of Anselme Selosse – who he ended up working with in 2001. Fast forward four years and Collin had managed to untangle his family’s 8 hectares of vines from the lengthy, byzantine contracts his family had made with Pommery, and the Coteaux du Petit Morin had a star in the making. By 2012, Antonio Galloni was compelled to write that: “There is little question Collin’s wines are now on the same level as those of his mentor, Anselme Selosse.” Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, there’s no hiding from the fact that this grower’s wines today represent some of the finest in Champagne.

Without going into chapter and verse, Collin’s vineyards are ploughed and yields are strictly controlled when required. The grass is allowed to grow naturally during the winter, no herbicides or pesticides are used and strict sorting occurs at harvest. In the Congy cellar, the grapes are pressed in a traditional 1950s Coquard press and the juice is vinified in a growing collection of large-format barrels and foudre, with no added yeasts (or anything else). Collin neither fines nor filters and ages each pressing separately in old barrels of varying sizes, after which they are blended and bottled in July. Collin disgorges after a minimum 24 months on lees with a tiny 1-3 grams dosage.

Today we offer our first full tranche of Olivier Collin’s cuvées, including the Blanc de Blancs Les Enfers, from Collin’s Congy terroir adjacent to Les Roises. Due to hail in 2011 and mildew in 2012, Olivier was not able to produce any Les Enfers for two consecutive vintages, making this release our first allocation to include this wine. It’s also worth noting that both of the wines mentioned are vintage wines for this release as no reserve wine was produced in the two years prior. All the wines below were disgorged in March this year after between 24 and 48 months on lees.

In short, these are some of the most original and outstanding terroir-driven wines emanating from Champagne. They are simply ‘required drinking’ for both students of Champagne in general and followers of the greatest grower wines in particular.

- Importer Note

Additional Information

Volume (ml)750ml
Winemaking PracticesMinimal Intervention
Vineyard PracticesOrganic/Biodynamic
Product typeWine Sparkling Champagne

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