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Champagne Ulysse Collin Blanc de Blancs Les Pierrières Extra Brut NV (2016 Base) Wine - Last Bottle

Champagne Ulysse Collin Blanc de Blancs Les Pierrières Extra Brut NV (2016 Base)

This producer – with its fascinating history, teeny-tiny production, and cult following – can rarely be found at a discount…let alone, more than $100 off. With only single-vineyard expressions of his Champagnes, Olivier Collin of Ulysse Collin continues to show why he’s a maverick in the region with many acolytes! We’re ecstatic to have a small selection of Champagne Ulysse Collin’s 2016 base Les Pierrières, one of the best Blanc de Blancs we’ve tasted in some time!!

$399
$500

Retail

20
Time on Lees: 48 Months
Farming Method: Sustainable Practices
Score: 97

Why We Love It...

If there ever was a cult-y Champagne producer, it would be Ulysse Collin. He single-handedly turned the spotlight to the Coteaux du Petit Morin, a little-known area situated between the Côte des Blancs and the Côte des Sézanne. Based in the village of Congy, where his family has lived and farmed since the 1800s, Georges Collin, Olivier’s father, was an original member of the Club de Viticulteurs Champenois, now known as the Club de Tresors or the Special Club. He makes a miniscule amount of world-class cuvees each year, so when we see it marked down, we lose our minds. Right now, we’re losing our minds.

For many years, the Collin family rented out their 8.7 hectares of vines to a negociant. Not really a problem for Olivier, since the last thing on his mind was taking over the family business. Then, an auspicious trip to Burgundy changed his mind. He decided to study winemaking, but his first goal was to retrieve his family’s leased vineyards and then make wines with the distinctive ethos of Burgundian climats, from his own estate. Olivier went to law school with this specific goal in mind and studied law for eight years, and his efforts eventually paid off.

In 2003, he got back a 4.5-hectare parcel and bought a tractor to plow the vineyard, which had fallen into disrepair. In 2005, he retrieved most of the other 4.2 hectares of the parcel, which, at that time, was owned by his grandparents. His first vintage was in 2004. Olivier now makes five different cuvees from four specific sites: Les Maillons, Les Enfers, Les Pierrières, and Les Roises. The estate is the only producer in Champagne that releases only single-vineyard cuvees of its wines, typically aged for three years on the lees.

During Olivier’s early winemaking journey, he was an Anselme Selosse acolyte. He worked with Selosse for about three months. Since Selosse revolutionized the winemaking and viticulture practices of grower Champagnes, most of his followers adopted similar practices to him: oak aging, low dosage, oxygen control, and organic viticulture. But unlike Selosse and other growers in Champagne, Ulysse Collin does not farm organically because he eschews the use of copper in his vineyards, which he feels thickens the skin of the grapes and makes the wines more astringent. He does believe in dosage, however, and after years of experimentation, depending on the cuvee, he adds either 1.7 or 2.4 g/L of dosage to his wines for balance and to amplify the wines’ expressiveness. 

The base vintage of Les Pierrières is 2016, aging for 48 months on the lees before disgorgement and his signature 1.7 g/L dosage. Pierrières is a 1.2-hectare vineyard in the village of Vert-Toulon, and the chalky soils are extremely close to the surface, mixed with black silex to lend a defined and racy minerality and boisterous elegance to the final cuvee. It faces southeast, with vines averaging 40 years of age. Prominent power and complexity waft from the glass, with layers of stone fruits, mineral-laden stones, smoke, and herbs intertwining spectacularly. With a radiant expansiveness, notes of granny smith apple, crunchy white peach, citrus sorbet, and almond croissant flavors dance across the palate, followed by a fresh zip of mineral acidity and lift of chiseled, chalky grippiness. With every sip, you can taste the tender care that went into the bottle, not to mention the interesting history and enigmatic rise to fame. 
There are very few of these wines to go around in general, and we only have a finite amount for our thirsty Bubble Monsters, but if you get your hands on one of these, please know, you will not be disappointed. Ulysse Collin is inarguably one of the most exciting grower-producers in Champagne right now. If you can swing it, I welcome you to join in on the fanfare that Ulysse Collin has worthily collected!

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Technical Details

Country: France
Region: Champagne
Appellation: Côte des Blancs
Vineyard: Les Pierrieres
Varietal: Chardonnay
Winemaker: Olivier Collin
Farming Method: Sustainable Practices
Alcohol: 12.5%

About the Producer

Champagne Ulysse Collin stands as a beacon of innovation and excellence in the Champagne region, founded in 2003 by Olivier Collin in the esteemed Côte des Blancs. Embracing organic and biodynamic viticulture, Collin meticulously tends to his vineyards, predominantly planted with Chardonnay, with a profound respect for the land. His commitment to terroir-driven winemaking is evident in every bottle, showcasing the unique characteristics of the region's soils and microclimates. With a minimalist approach in the cellar, Collin allows the grapes to speak for themselves, resulting in Champagnes of remarkable purity, finesse, and complexity. Championing single-vineyard expressions, Ulysse Collin has garnered widespread acclaim for its dedication to quality and authenticity, cementing its place as a trailblazer in the world of Champagne.

Champagne Ulysse Collin Blanc de Blancs Les Pierrières Extra Brut NV (2016 Base)

$399
$500

Retail

20

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