25 years ago, the Colin family broke free from the cooperative system in which it had evolved since the 19th century to express its own vision of champagne. The house is based on a 10-hectare vineyard in Vertus, in the south of the Côte des Blancs, and on terroirs classified as premier cru and grand cru.
By Xavier Aubercy
In this season, the show is striking. The yellowed vines take on a reddish glow as the sun declines and seem to crown an exceptional terroir of which they are indeed the queens. It is in the heart of the Chardonnay kingdom, in Vertus, in the south of the Côte des Blancs, that the Colin family has been established since the beginning of the 19th century. In 1995, Richard Colin and his wife Delphine, accompanied by Romain Colin, decided to free themselves from the cooperative system whose philosophy they no longer shared and created their own winery to become independent winemakers. The seventh generation of the family can count on a ten-hectare vineyard bequeathed to them by their forefathers, on terroirs classified as premier cru and grand cru.
On these well named lands of the Côte des Blancs, the Colin house, still confidential, cultivates essentially chardonnay. Some pinot meuniers are also planted in Sézanne and pinot noir in Vertus. For 25 years, the family has been working to produce great champagnes rich in finesse and elegance, in the image of their terroirs. To achieve this, the estate, certified HVE – High Environmental Value – level 3, relies on manual harvesting at maturity and on a slow press to extract the purest juice. Each vintage is vinified separately. And it is during the blending that Richard, Delphine and Romain Colin meet to decide on the alliances between the terroirs in order to elaborate their cuvées, generally with low dosage.
In 2005, relying on an ideal vintage while following the Champagne trend of making wines in the Burgundy style, in parcels, Colin imagined a special cuvée, parcel by parcel, which was to become its spearhead: the Prôles et Chétivins. Produced only in exceptional years, this cuvée de gastronomie extra-brut, blanc de blancs, gives great strength of expression to the vines of the 60s whose name it bears, and whose harvest requires the greatest rigor. A golden color with bronze highlights, great complexity – white flowers and pastries on the nose, roasted and lemony notes on the palate – characterize this 2006 vintage, which has been aged for over 10 years in the cellar. The 2008 vintage will follow.
Favorite of the editors of L’Honoré Magazine, the cuvée Rosé de Saignée, vintage 2013, is the other rare cuvée of the Colin house. This champagne, made entirely with Pinot Noir grapes from a Premier Cru terroir in the Côte des Blancs, in Vertus, can boast of having aged for five years in cellars and six months after disgorgement. After a short maceration of the grapes, the bleeding is carried out when the natural pigments contained in the skin of the pinot noir grapes sufficiently color the juice and impregnate it with their flavor. This winey champagne, with its deep pink color and fine bubbles, opens with an intense nose of red fruits and offers a greedy mouth that makes it an ideal gastronomic wine with poultry and certain cheeses.