Father’s Day, graduations and wedding celebrations – all of these are worthy of an elegant celebratory wine, especially champagne. Try special champagnes from Collet, one of the great champagne houses making a push to enter the American market.
One thing that most people outside of France are not able to experience is the wide range of Champagne styles that are produced. In fact, there are few Champagne houses that are large enough to have a serious presence outside of the region itself.
Maison Collet was founded in 1921 and is a cooperative of about 850 growers that uses almost exclusively Premier and Grand Crus in its wines.
Collet is located in Ay, a small region just outside of the great Champagne producing town of Epernay, They produce wines that are distinct and designed to complement both a range of fine dining and fine drinking experiences.
We had the opportunity to taste a wide range of Champagne Collet’s cuvees at a luncheon held in the art deco rooftop restaurant Elsie. Hosted by winemaker Sebastien Walasiak, this event provided an insightful and enjoyable opportunity to try these amazing wines.
Champagne Collet produces about a dozen different Champagnes, but the house cuvee is called “Brut Art Deco” ( NV: $53). This wine is made exclusively with Premier Cru grapes, using a very traditional Champagne mix of 40 percent Chardonnay, 40 percent Pinot Noir and 20 Percent Pinot Meunier.
Lemon yellow in color with a yeasty apple nose, the wine had some bitter citrus pith notes up front, but finished very balance, creamy and sweet. It paired beautifully with the ginger shrimp dish that it was served with.
So too did Collet Brut Rose (NV: $70). Made with 50 percent Pinot Noir (of which 16 percent of the blend was still wine), 40 percent Chardonnay and 10 percent Meunier, this wine had a lovely orange-pink color and a nose of light berry and violet.
The wine was almost tart up front but moved to a rich berry blend of blackcurrant, blackberry and strawberry on the finish. It would make any special event more celebratory!
Collet Champagne Esprit Couture:
One of Champagne Colette’s gems (and we mean this literally) is its Esprit Couture (NV: $100). This wine is made from an assemblage of 6 different wines of which most are Grand Crus and Premier Crus. This is a hand-made wine and even the racking is done by hand.
The cage for this wine, housed in an elegant art nouveau bottle, is replaced with an elegant silver bracelet. Golden yellow in color with a nose that was smoky and a bit harsh, the wine itself was an excellent balance of citrus, apple and caramel notes.
Espirit Couture is aged for at least 5 years in barrels. It paired beautifully with a lemon thyme sea bass, featuring a truffle-butter sauce.
This is really a very special occasion wine, I can imagine a groom popping open a bottle of this cuvee to share with his bride right after carrying her over the threshold.
Vintage and Non-Vintage Wines:
Collet produces an extraordinarily large variety of both vintage and non-vintage wines (we also sampled an elegant Blanc de Blanc, and a lovely, tropical forward demi-sec featuring a blend with 50 percent Pinot Meunier grapes.
The house produces just five and six million bottles, so its good to see that Old Bridge Cellars is importing the range into the American market.
Collet’s champagnes are special and a bottle or two should be in everybody’s cellar for that serious special occasion or event.
For more information visit the Champagne Collet web site