Champagne Collard-Picard

For this edition of "review" we look at Champagne Collard-Picard, a Récoltant-Manipulant from the pretty village of Villers-sous-Châtillon, located in the Vallée de la Marne.

 

Although the village is rated at just 86% (Deuxième Cru) and with the vast majority of the harvest being dedicated to Pinot Meunier, this forward thinking house produces some truly lovely wines. Assisted greatly following the marriage between Olivier Collard and Caroline who owned vineyards in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; which brings a touch of top class Chardonnay to the vibrant Meunier.

 

With an impressive new winery in the village and a brand new boutique to catch the tourists on the Avenue de Champagne in Épernay, this relatively small grower is certainly looking well into the future. The winery is all above ground and so climate controlled warehousing replaces underground cellars. An expensive state of the art vertical press that massively reduces pressing time has been installed at much expense and large 700 litre oak casks (foudres) complete the makeover. The costs of such an enterprise have obviously been passed onto their champagnes to some extent but they still represent good value for money and are definitely worth seeking out.

 

Malolatic fermentation is avoided and dosage is generally between 12gl to 8gl. The new oak foudres are at the heart of the operation, with the entry level wines also using stainless steel vats. It will be interesting to chart the course of these wines as the oak ages. For the moment, the wines have a light freshness that will no doubt give way to a deep richness as the oak plays more of a leading role.

 

Producing around 90,000 bottles per year, Champagne Collard-Picard offer eight Champagnes. The entire range is strong with some real stars: the prestige Cuvée des Archives, Cuvée Dom Picard and Essentiel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please click on the images to enlarge

 

 

Cuvées of Champagne Collard-Picard:

 

Cuvée Sélection: A blanc de noirs consisting of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier from two years – 30% from 2006 and 70% from 2007. Vinification is in stainless steel vats with the reserve wines from the large oak foudres. Given three years aging this wine had a real fruity freshness to it with lively green apples and citrus. Just the first pressing is used and dosage is 12gl.

Price at source = €19.20

 

Rosé: Consisting of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier, this wine is made using the method of red wine addition. A fruity cuvée whose origins lay in the Vallée de la Marne. Just the first pressing is used and dosage is 12gl.

Price at source = €20.30

 

Cuvée Prestige: A blend of 50% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne. The wine is a blend of 2006/2007/2008 and 2009. Only the best of the pressing, the Cœur de Cuvée is used. Vinification is entirely in oak foudres over a period of 10-15 months and dosage is 12gl. Four years blending and three years aging brings ensures a well rounded wine that maintains a freshness and good acidity. Hints of toasted brioche and spice.

Price at source = €22.40

 

Cuvée Dom Picard: A blanc de blancs, consisting of 100% Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger from the 2008 harvest. This cuvee is vinified entirely in oak foudres and the aging is around four years with a dosage of 11.75gl. Fresh with good acidity, green apples and citrus notes come to the fore. This is a very elegant Chardonnay that will please any die-hard fans of blanc de blancs.

Price at source = €31.00

 

Cuvée des Merveilles Rosé: A blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay from a single parcel in Vertus that has been on biodynamic conversion since 2006. Made by the traditional saignée method where maceration takes place in large oak foudres for 60-70 hours. The dosage is 9.65gl although a Demi-Sec version is also available that would prove an excellent accompaniment to a dessert course. This wine is abundantly rich and fruity yet still expressing a mineral quality.

Price at source = €31.00

 

Cuvée Prestige Millésimée: Produced in extremely limited numbers, this cuvee consists of a blend of 50% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne. Vinification is entirely in oak foudres. Wine not tasted.

Price at source unknown.

 

Essentiel 2006: A vintage wine consisting of a blend of 50% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne. Vinification is entirely in oak foudres. There is no chaptalisation (addition of sugar at first fermentation stage) and no sugar added after the second fermentation to produce a zero dosage wine in every sense. Malolatic fermentation is again avoided to release as much potential from the terroir as possible. This wine showed good acidity with a rich, honeyed finish. A super wine.

Price at source = €46.00

 

Cuvée des Archives: A prestige cuvee consisting of 80% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs and 20% Pinot Noir from the Vallée de la Marne from old vines planted in 1923. As with every wine in the range, malolatic fermentation is avoided as is filtering – a very traditional method. Once bottled, the cork is secured in place with a staple much like days of old as this is said to allow micro-oxygenation. This method is something the Collard family have been perfecting and they believe this allows for a long period of conservation. This is a strong wine that still allows for a touch of finesse, a real gem that is...dare we say: worth the high asking price!

Price at source = €92.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please click on the images to enlarge