Today the fame of the Coteaux du Petit Morin and Côte de Sézanne terroirs—for lovers of great grower wines anyway—rest on the shoulders of one vigneron. It’s just as well that those shoulders belong to Olivier Collin. Collin was one of a group of young growers (several of whom are now revered) who fell into the orbit of Anselme Selosse – who he ended up working with in 2001.
Fast forward four years and Collin had managed to untangle his family’s 8 hectares of vines from the lengthy, byzantine contracts his family had made with Pommery. By 2012, Antonio Galloni was compelled to write that: “There is little question Collin’s wines are now on the same level as those of his mentor, Anselme Selosse.” Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, there’s no hiding from the fact that this grower’s wines today represent some of the finest in Champagne. Collin’s vineyards are ploughed and yields are strictly controlled when required.
The grass is allowed to grow naturally during the winter, no herbicides or pesticides are used and strict sorting occurs at harvest. In the Congy cellar, the grapes are pressed in a traditional 1950s Coquard press and the juice is vinified in a growing collection of large-format barrels and foudre, with no added yeasts (or anything else). Collin neither fines nor filters and ages each pressing separately in old barrels of varying sizes, after which they are blended and bottled in July. In short, these are some of the most original and outstanding terroir-driven wines emanating from Champagne. They are simply ‘required drinking’ for both students of Champagne in general and followers of the greatest grower wines in particular.