Olivier Collin has been producing Champagnes of poise, power, and terroir since 2004. His "Pierrières" bottling derives from a 1.2HA plot of 30+ year old vines in Vert-Toulon southwest of Vertus. The soil here is very thin and comprised of chalk and black silex. The aromatics are spicy and savory while the palate is trim and elegant. If you could call any of Collin's wines precocious, this would be the one. The 2011 edition contains 30% reserve wine from 2010 and is just a touch more forward than previous years.The nose offers a combination of yellow fruit, sea spray, and crushed herbs. The palate, while somewhat sinewy and almost startlingly flinty and chalky, evolves to show layers of complex ripe fruit and spice notes on the long and quite detailed finish. Patience will certainly reward the Champagne lover who squirrels away a bottle of two of this beautiful blanc de blancs. John McIlwain
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