Barberry Garden

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Les Pierrières (2013) - NV

Ulysse Collin

4.80 / 5.0

white sparkling, extra-brut
Champagne AOC, France
NV, based on 2013
On lees
36 months
3600 UAH
not available
Ulysse Collin Les Pierrières (2013) NV

40-year-old Chardonnay have southern exposure and are planted on chalky soils that also feature chunks and pockets of a rare black flint or silex noir unique to Coteaux du Petit Morin. Pierrières was Olivier Collin's first bottling, and only bottling, in the 2004 vintage. The fruit is hand-harvested, the clusters destemmed and the grapes gently pressed; the juice is fermented spontaneously and slowly (up to six months) with natural yeasts in mainly-used Burgundy barrels. Reserve wines are held in foudres and tonneaux. The wine is bottled without fining or filtering and aged for 36 months (depends on the year and format, e.g. magnum based on 2007 was aged for 132 months).


4.60 / 5.0750 ml@Home

This is the first wine of the year. Nice beginning of the day, I must say. Complex and multilayered wine with a slightly restrained bouquet. But it's a pleasure to witness how it unpacks. It starts with Roquefort cheese, mould and butter. Then it reveals baked pear, mushrooms, and Jerez. Almost perfectly balanced with a long mineral aftertaste and flavours of lemon tart with meringue, Jerez and mushrooms. Delicate and sophisticated.

5.00 / 5.0750 ml@101 Bar

Tasted as a part of Ulysse Collin dinner in 101 Bar.

Subjectively, but I fell in love with this wine. It was interesting to witness winemaker evolution by comparing it with 2007-based magnum (not fair comparison, but still). So this one is based on 2013, spent 48 months on lees. Initially (even after some 'decanting') it is closed and restrained, but shows complexity with chalk and salty notes. With time it opens up and becomes expressive and sophisticated. Chalk, apple seeds, salty Roquefort, lemon and cream. And then this beauty fully opens up when you taste it. Perfectly balanced, multilayered with long evolving taste. Definitely my style. Great value.

Ulysse Collin

Ulysse Collin, a venerated name in the Champagne world, is deeply rooted in the historic vineyards of Congy, located in the Coteaux du Petit Morin. The Collin family has been integral to the vine-growing landscape since 1812, with a lineage of viticulture that spans generations. Olivier Collin, the current custodian of the family's legacy, stands as a pivotal figure in the estate's evolution, particularly noted for his transformative approach to both vineyard management and winemaking.

The Collin family's journey in Champagne has been marked by notable achievements and significant transitions. Georges Collin, the first Récoltant Manipulant in Congy, began his journey in 1930, earning accolades from the French Ministry of Agriculture. This legacy was furthered by René Collin, Olivier's grandfather, who expanded the estate to 18 hectares post-World War II and became a prominent member of the "Club des Viticulteurs Champenois". However, a pivotal change occurred in 1987 when Olivier's father ceased independent wine production, opting instead to rent out the family's vines and cellar to a major Champagne house.

Olivier Collin's path to winemaking was notably influenced by a transformative trip to Burgundy during his university years. Enthralled by the distinct climates and unique wines of the Côte de Beaune, he was inspired to reclaim his family's land and embarked on a legal education to facilitate this goal. His success in this endeavour was evident in 2003 when he reclaimed 4.5 hectares of vineyards that had been leased for a generation.

Starting from scratch, Olivier faced the formidable task of revitalizing soils that had not been ploughed in nearly two decades. His first vintage, 2004, marked a significant milestone, producing Chardonnay from the Les Pierrières plot, renowned for its unique geological composition of shallow topsoil over soft Campanian chalk with carbonated silex or Onyx. This specific terroir, unique to the Coteaux du Petit Morin, imparts a distinctive character to the Ulysse Collin Champagnes.

Olivier Collin's approach to viticulture and winemaking is deeply reflective of his Burgundian influences. He is a pioneer in Champagne for exclusively releasing single-vineyard expressions, a practice that diverges from the region's tradition of multi-parcel, multi-vintage blends. His portfolio includes six distinct wines, each a single-vineyard expression, showcasing the diversity and complexity of his terroirs. These vineyards, including Les Pierrières, Les Maillons, Les Roises, Les Enfers, and others, each contribute uniquely to the Collin Champagne's profile.

In the cellar, Olivier employs a blend of traditional and innovative techniques. He favours old Burgundian barrels for fermentation, allowing for extended ageing and complex aromatic development. His philosophy extends to the blending process, where he skillfully combines vintages to achieve the most nuanced expression of his vineyards. This approach is underpinned by a commitment to minimal intervention, allowing the natural characteristics of the terroir and the vintage to shine through in each bottle.

Olivier Collin's dedication to his craft is evident in his meticulous vineyard management. He eschews the use of herbicides and anti-rot products, relying instead on organic practices to maintain the health and balance of his vines. His approach to dosage in Champagne making is equally thoughtful, using specific measurements to achieve the desired balance and complexity in his wines.

So far, Olivier Collin produces 6 distinct wines (each one from a singe vineyard):

  • Blanc de Blancs Les Pierrières (first vintage is 2004);
  • Blanc de Blancs Les Roises (first vintage is 2008);
  • Blanc de Blancs Les Enfers (first vintage is 2010);
  • Blanc de Noirs Les Maillons (first vintage is 2006);
  • Rose Les Maillons (first vintage is 2011);
  • Jardin d'Ulysse (first vintage is 2015).

In summary, Ulysse Collin, under Olivier's stewardship, represents a fusion of deep respect for tradition and a bold, innovative spirit. His Champagnes are not merely expressions of their varietals but are a testament to the history, geography, and passion that define the Coteaux du Petit Morin. They embody the essence of a region lesser-known yet rich in character, brought to prominence through Olivier's dedication and skill.