We are in the midst of the holiday season, one to raise our glasses and drink marvelous sparkling wines and Champagnes. It is intriguing that Champagne was not always the popular celebratory choice. Champagne did not gain in prominence until well into the 20th century. It was the founding of the COGEVI (cooperative general winemakers of champagne delimited) that played a major role in the founding history of the Champagne appellation. The group’s founders Victor Philibert, Elie Blée and Roland Dupont, had the business plan to create and commercialize their own brands, including Champagne Raoul Collet. Five years after its inception, the cooperative already had over two hundred members. The cooperative was present at many exhibitions, where their Champagnes received many accolades and became a major player in the Champagne market in less than a decade. Expansion continued for Champagne in the roaring 30s. With some brilliant marketing Champagne became the drink of choice for the rich and famous.
Champagne Collet is Located in Aÿ, at the heart of the Champagne region. Collet′s vineyards are largely sourced from 650 hectares of Premier and Grand Cru estate vineyards across Champagne. Sébastien Walasiak has served as cellarmaster at Champagne Collet for many years. Born in Epernay in 1966, Sébastien grew up in Champagne had a stint at Champagne Delamotte before working for Champagne Pommery in 1988. There, he worked as a cellar operator until 1993. In 1994, Walasiak joined the COGEVI, which remains the oldest cooperative in the region, becoming cellar manager for the co-op’s flagship brand, Champagne Collet. I recently had the chance to review some of the most recent vintage offerings from Champagne Collet, including the 2004, 2006 and 2008 vintages. A bit now on these exciting vintages.
2004 was a high-yielding vintage that was the largest harvest in history. Grapes were healthy and achieved good phenolic ripeness as the growing season was near picture-perfect. A slight step down in overall quality, 2006 was marked by some rain and humidity through August but the quality of the fruit was generally ripe and balanced since to large diurnal shifts in Autumn. Not having any of the challenges of 2006, 2008 is considered to be one of the best vintages in Champagne in recent memory, up there with the epic 2000 vintage. The releases by Champagne Collet were striking across the board. Learn more about this fantastic Champagne house at http://www.champagne-collet.com Here are the beautiful vintage Champagne releases by Champagne Collet.
2008 Champagne Collet ‘Collection Privee’ Brut- The 2008 ‘Collection Privee’ Brut by Champagne Collet is showing marvelously at this time and has a long life ahead of it. Green apple, lemon rind and biscuit aromas fill the nose. The palate shows wonderful tension and richness with a nice salinity. Chalky terroir impresses here alongside flavors of green apple, green papaya and Meyer lemon zest flavors that all impress. The balance and tension despite its age is gorgeous here. Drink 2018-2030- 93
2006 Champagne Collet ‘Collection Privee’ Brut- An excellent effort from a somewhat challenging vintage, the 2006 Champagne Collet Brut shows great poise and range. The nose comes off wonderfully earthy, yielding wild mushroom, damp soil biscuit, and Gala apple aromas. The beautiful texture coats the mid palate. Green apple, white peach, freshly baked Challah bead, and kumquat flavors all impress. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2004 Champagne Collet ‘Collection Privee’ Brut- The 2004 Brut Champagne by Champagne Collet is a stunning wine by cellarmaster Sébastien Walasiak that has an exceedingly long life ahead of it. Crafted from roughly 75% Chardonnay grapes, this compelling Champagne yields the most prominent of citrus tones of the bunch both aromatically and on the mouth. The citrus zest, Challah bread and Gravensteins apple aromas impress and build with more air. The palate is plush showing wonderful weight and a great saline streak. Green apple, sourdough bread, kumquat and wild mushroom flavors all come together marvelously. This is a long aged. Drink 2018-2033- 93