In a small, unassuming village of Congy near the base of the Côte des Blancs, the Collin family has been growing grapes since the early 19th century. The fruit was always sold to negoce until Olivier Collin, inspired by his time working with Anselme Selosse, managed to end the negoce contracts in the mid-2000s, producing his first wine in 2004.
While his vineyard sits on a deep chalky soil, it was widely considered to be in a poor region of the Côte, not suitable for site-specific Champagnes to many of the region’s elite. Following his mentor’s lead, Collin completely overhauled the viticulture, removing all use of chemicals, practicing organics and allowing the land to thrive, which allowed his trademark of great ripeness to develop. Cellar practices are following in the old traditions of the region - utilizing an older press that requires great manpower, Collin presses his ripe fruit, at first separating the cuvée and the taille, only to vilify & age them separately, then later blend them in. This practice allows for the incredible rich, textured wines that Olivier favors. Still, his extremes of terroir show through, a la Selosse.
The first wine of Olivier's was Les Pierrieres, entirely made of Chardonnay from two different vintages of the 1.2 hectare eponymous monopole from the adjacent village. Here you find old vines on chalk with black silex mixed in. Vinified in barrel, the older vintage spends an extra year in the cask before blending. The wine spends 3 years on its lees, and is finished with very little dosage. The resulting wine is intensely tropical, concentrated Chardonnay.
The second wine of the estate is Les Maillons, entirely Pinot Noir from a 6 hectare plot of the same name which consists of heavier clay soils above the chalk. Collin allows this to ferment with natural yeasts in oak, and is later aged 3 years on its lees. Sometimes the wine is so concentrated it carries a pinkish hue, always bursting at the seams with tart red fruits and smoky mineral tones. Since 2011 there has been a rosé version produced in the saignée method, where the juice macerates along with the skins for 18 hours, bringing out more candied red fruits as well as dose of brambly, spicy character.
Les Roises and Les Enfers are tiny blanc-de-blancs bottlings, the former the smallest vineyard owned by Olivier - a 60-year-old plot of vines affected by the leaf-roll virus which only serves to concentrate the fruit further, limiting the yield as well. Again two consecutive vintages and this spends 4 years on its lees prior to disgorging. Firm but intense, with plenty of candied citrus tones. Les Enfers is again 100% Chardonnay from slightly younger vines of Les Roises, two vintages comprising the blend, spending 4 years on the lees. A brighter wine in terms of the color spectrum of the fruits, but a powerful example all the same.