FOUNDED: 1921 by Raoul ColletWINEMAKER: Sebastien WalasiakCLIMATE: Continental (cold winters and warm summers) with year round rainfallPROFILE: Since 1921, the house of Collet has been creating champagnes of character with a view to satisfy connoisseurs who are looking for authenticity, elegance and great finesse. Located in Aff, at the heart of the Champagne region, Collet's vineyards are based mainly on Premier and Grand crus that reflect the diversity of the champagne regions terroirs.VITICULTURE: Champagne's primary distinguishing feature is that the vines are planted at the northernmost limits of their cold tolerance. The ideal vineyard sites are east to southeast facing, gently sloped, and are protected by thickly wooded hilltops allowing the grapes to ripen given the climatic challenges. Champagne Collet's vineyards are in Premier and Grand Cru villages that reflect the diversity of Champagne's terroirs. They source fruit from 850 growers spread over 160 different crus (there are a total of 320 crus in Champagne). However, winemaker Sebastien Walasiak uses no more than 10% of the overall vineyard yields to produce the best possible champagnes with year to year style consistency.WINEMAKING: The grapes are gently pressed at stations in each vineyard within one hour of being hand harvested so that the clarity of the must is not compromised. Next, an indigenous, natural primary fermentation takes place at the winery. Walasiak blends the resulting base wines of the classic Champagne varieties from hundreds of individual vineyards and several vintages - vital, because blending is the ultimate art of Champagne and is the key to maintaining Champagne Collet's incomparable house style. The cuve9es are bottled with a bit of sugar and yeast for the second fermentation, or `prise de mousse.' After disgorgement, the bottles are aged far beyond the minimum requirement in the winery's 100-year-old chalk cellars resulting in softer wines needing less dosage. Some cuve9es are matured in barrels from oaks grown in the appellation.
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