Champagne Ulysse Collin Les Pierrieres Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut (Base 16. Disg. March 2020)
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Without going into chapter and verse, Collin’s work in the vineyard, in many ways, mirrors that of our other growers. Collin’s vineyards are ploughed and yields are strictly controlled when required (Mother Nature did this work for him in 2012). 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 (or anything else). After ten months élevage in barrel the wines are neither fined nor filtered before bottling in July. Collin disgorges after a minimum 24 months on lees with a tiny 1-3 grams dosage. These are some of the most original and satisfying terroir wines emanating from Champagne.
Les Pierrières is a 1.3-hectare parcel west of Congy in the Cotéaux du Petit Morin very near the southern tip of the Côte des Blancs. It's an east-sloping site with chalky soils that contain large chunks of black silex, or onyx (very rare in Champagne), that might well be responsible for a 'smoky' hint in the wine's profile. There is only 10-40 cm of topsoil before the vines hit the soft chalk (and silex) of the bedrock.