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Domaine Collet (2014-09-27 by Robert Jonasson)

Domaine Collet, run by the brothers Vincent, Florent and Thomas Collet is to be found in Fontaine-Denis in the southern part of Champagne. Fontaine-Denis is a cozy and sleepy little village located a few kilometers south of the Sézanne in Côte de Sézanne. The village, which has more than 1 000 years of history, is surrounded by vineyards but has no Premier Cru or Grand Cru classified vineyard. In total there are 125 hectares of vineyards in the Fontaine-Denis area.

 

 

The entrance to Domaine Collet

 

The vineyards of Cote de Sézanne are generally planted in soil that is dominated by chalk. Other occurring soils are limestone, marl, sand and clay. Chardonnay, which prefers soils of chalk, is the most widely grown grape in the area. Pinot Noir is grown mainly in limestone soils. The vineyards are usually in the south-southeast slopes. The mild climate of the area, with an average annual temperature of about 10°C, often provides little more generous champagne than, say, a champagne from Côte de Blancs. The average rainfall is 620 mm/year and average sunshine amounts to 1 771 hours/year.

 

History

 

The Collet family has cultivated grapes since the period after the First World War when war veteran Anthime Collet (great-grandfather of the brothers that runs the property today) began growing on small vineyards around the Fontaine-Denis. Until the 70's, all grapes were sold, mainly to the big champagne houses in Epernay. Change began in the early 70's when grandfather Raymond Collet built a wine press house and began to produce wine. An important year in the Domaine Collet's history is 1973 when the father René Collet took over the estate, founded the Domaine Collet and completely stopped selling grapes. Instead the grapes were pressed and wine was produced in the large collective Champagne Collet.

 

The year 2002 counts as another important year for the grower; this was the year when the family decided to produce all champagne by themselves on the property in Fontaine-Denis. Domaine Collet now controls all parts of the champagne production by themselves, from the management of the vineyards to sales. From 2001, the brothers have joined the family domain one by one. Vincent started to work on the property in 2001 and currently has primary responsibility for the property; Thomas began working on the property in 2005 and is currently winemaker. The last to join the work at the family property was Florent and he has served since 2011 as Marketing Manager.

 

Vineyards and vinification

 

Domaine Collet owns just over 5 hectares of vineyards, which are all located within 2 km from Fontaine-Denis. The vineyards are planted with approximately 60% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier. The average age of the vines is 35 years old and the oldest ones are 53 years old.

 

Collet works as far as possible organically, but when necessary, chemicals are used minimally. The last 10 years, the use of herbicides has decreased by 70%. Pesticides against harmful diseases are also used but as minimally as possible.

 

All vineyard work is done by Domaine Collet and the harvest is carried out by the same team of pickers every year.

 

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