Ulysse Collin

Redefining The Côteaux du Petit Morin and Côte de Sézanne

While the Côte des Bar is arguably Champagne’s most vocal concentration of independent, terroir-obsessed growers, the fame of the Côteaux du Petit Morin and the Côte de Sézanne terroirs—the southerly continuation of the Côte des Blancs—rests largely on the shoulders of one vigneron. It’s just as well those shoulders belong to Olivier Collin.

As a student of law, Collin was another who fell into the orbit of Jacques Selosse under whom he became the vineyard’s first stagiaire in 2001. Fast-forward four years (if we may) and this law student-cum-vigneron had managed to untangle his family’s eight hectares of vines from the lengthy, byzantine contracts made with Pommery—and the Côteaux du Petit Morin had a star of terroir Champagne on its hands.

The Côteaux du Petit Morin is named after the river that bisects this area from east to west. It’s home to 18 villages, of which Congy is arguably the most familiar (thanks to this grower). While only 15 miles from Epernay, the terrain is markedly different from the Côtes des Blancs. The soils of the region are diverse: the chalkiest area is in the north around Congy, Vert Toulon and Soulières; while the further south you travel the soils become richer in clay, and Chardonnay gives way to Pinot. Roughly half of Collin’s 8.7 hectares lie within this northern, chalky sector.

One of Champagne’s most driven and inquisitive vignerons, Olivier Collin is crafting some of the most original and satisfying terroir wines emanating from Champagne. They are also some of the most sought-after, meaning Collin’s wines are only available in Australia on allocation.

A two-hour tractor ride to the south, Collin also tends a parcel in the Côte de Sézanne in the village of Barbonne-Fayel, called Les Maillons. The deep clay and continental influence here make for superb Pinot Noir terroir and can ripen the grapes to 12% potential alcohol naturally and consistently. It is from this Maillons vineyard that Collin bottles his Blanc de Noirs and Rosé de Saignée.

Collin’s yields are strictly controlled when required. Grass is allowed to grow naturally during the winter, and Collin ploughs at appropriate moments throughout the growing season. No herbicides or pesticides are used. The grapes are pressed in a traditional 1950s Coquard press, and the juice is vinified in a growing coterie of large-format barrels and foudre, with no added yeasts. Wines generally see 10 months élevage in barrel and are neither fined nor filtered before bottling. Depending on the cuvée, Collin disgorges after 36-60 months on lees with a tiny dosage of between one and three grams per litre.

Today Collin uses a greater level of reserve wine, which is always a good thing. His historic cuvées, Les Pierrières and Les Maillons, now contain a healthy 60% of reserve, adding layers of depth and savoury complexity. Another key to the continued rise in quality at this address is that Olivier’s wines are spending more and more time on lees before release. Recent releases have revealed the true breadth of Olivier Collin’s talent and the virtuosity of his terroirs.

The Range

Not seeing any wines? The wines from this producer are very limited and only available in small volumes, or they may be offered exclusively through our allocation program. Please contact your account manager or email us to register your interest in the next release.

“I consider [the wines] to be among the very best being produced in contemporary Champagne. Collin is putting in the hard work at every stage of the process, and that's driven by an unquenchable will to improve that's rare even among the wine world's elite.” William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

“One of the newest stars in the Champagne firmament is Olivier Collin, in the village of Congy in the Coteaux du Morin, the area that lies between the Côte des Blancs and the Sézanne. An inquisitive winegrower, Collin gives credit to Anselme Selosse for inspiring him to become a Champenois vigneron. He describes his stage with Selosse in 2001 as “one of those encounters that changes your life,” Peter Liem, champagneguide.net

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

Country

France

Primary Region

Champagne

People

Winemaker: Olivier Collin

Availability

National

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