Base 2017. Disg. Mar 2021. Les Pierrières is a 1.3-hectare parcel west of Congy in the Côteaux du Morin, very near the southern tip of the Côte des Blancs. It’s an east-sloping site with chalky soil containing large chunks of black silex (or onyx), something very rare in Champagne. This soil might well be responsible for the smoky hint in the wine’s profile (but who knows!) There is only 10-40 cm of topsoil before the vines hit the soft chalk and silex of the bedrock. The vines are now 35 years old. This is one of the historic wines from this producer, first produced in 2004. The current release is based on 2017 with a very high 65% reserve wine from 2016 (from the same vineyard). Naturally fermented in neutral oak casks, the wine was put to bottle after 11 months and then disgorged in March 2021, after 36 months on lees with only 1.7 g/L dosage added. It was neither fined nor filtered. The wine is beautifully interwoven with very lightly oxidative notes, almost buttery aromas from malolactic fermentation, and intense, pillar-like acidity. More chalk than fruit, the wine offers Tahitian Lime and Meyer Lemon, preserved lemon, tangy kiwifruit and a dense, chalky minerality. Fantastic with a seafood bouillabaisse or pan fried Coral Trout napped with a citrus beurre blanc.
Varietal / Blend: Chardonnay
Decant: Not necessary
Farming Practices: Sustainable
While the Côte des Bar is arguably Champagne’s most vocal concentration of independent, terroir-obsessed growers, the fame of the Coteaux du Petit Morin and the Côte de Sézanne terroirs' – the southerly continuation of the Côte des Blancs – rests largely on the shoulders of one vigneron. It’s just as well those shoulders belong to Olivier Collin. As a student of law, Collin was another who fell into the orbit of Jacques Selosse under whom he first became vineyard stagiaire in 2001. Fast-forward four years (if we may) and this law student-cum-vigneron had managed to untangle his family’s 8-hectares of vines from the lengthy, byzantine contracts his family had made with Pommery—and the Coteaux du Petit Morin had a star of terroir Champagne on its hands. 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.