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Ulysse Collin

One of the brightest new stars to emerge is Olivier Collin, in the village of Congy, south of the Cote des Blancs. Inspired by Jacques Selosse after working with him in 2001, he described it as "one of those encounters that changes your life". Spurred into action, in 2003 he reacquired 4.5 Ha of family vineyards that had been rented out for years to Pommery.

Nature wasn't kind in his first year however, as the devastating April frosts reduced his crop by half, and was forced to sell off the remainder to remain solvent. Olivier succeeded in making his first wine in 2004 from a 1.2 ha plot called Les Perrieres, where the vines are about 30 years old. Winemaking is as natural and non-interventionist as possible. All fermentation is carried out using indigenous yeasts, with both fermentation and malolactic carried out in three to six year old barriques, and the wines are neither filtered or fined.

    

Olivier is pragmatic when it comes to vineyard work, using a mixture of organic and conventional practices. He plows, doesn't use pesticides or anti-rot products, and organic compost is added to the soil when required. His aim is to convert to organic over the coming few years and is experimenting with biodynamics.

In 2005. Olivier got a further 4.2ha back from Pommery (3ha which belong to his grandparents) and regained the family winemaking facility and aging cellar. The estate is now a total of 8.7ha with long term leases of 18-30 years for what is not family owned. The plan is sell less and less grapes to negociants and produce more and more wine

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