Roger Coulon

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France

Champagne Roger Coulon Vrigny, Champagne, France Champagne Roger Coulon was founded in 1806. Eric and Isabelle Coulon are the eighth generation of winemakers for this domaine, situated in the town of Vrigny, 10 kilometers southwest of Reims on the western edge of the Montagne de Reims. They are one of the few Récoltant-Manipulant houses to exist over multiple generations, and one of the very few who have always harvested their own grapes for their own Champagne, rather than selling them off to the larger, more commercial houses. The 10-hectare estate spreads over five villages in the Montagne de Reims, and is composed of 70 separate parcels, all classified as Premier Cru. The mid-slope vineyards are oriented southeast and benefit from a soil composition rich in chalk and clay. The domaine is planted to 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, and 30% Chardonnay, and the vines have an average age of 38 years - very high for the region. Cloning, in which the young vines are grown in a laboratory, is fairly standard procedure in most vineyards. The Coulons use cuttings, rather than cloning, to regenerate their vines, thus preserving their original character. This traditional process is known as massale selection. The Coulons' careful production methods produce wines of great typicity and finesse. They prune and debud extensively, resulting in grapes with a maximum concentration of flavor, very expressive of their terroir. Natural production methods are employed, from planting grass between the rows to prevent erosion to plowing to eliminate the need for herbicides. The harvest is done manually. Each parcel and each grape variety is pressed separately and kept in a separate vat. The majority of the juice is held in temperature-regulated stainless-steel vats, but the fermenting Chardonnay juice is held in small oak barrels for a minimum of seven months. The Coulons create their Champagne as naturally as possible. To create the still wine base, the first fermentation is done using wild yeasts - a method rarely employed in this region. Most large houses tend to favor uniform consistency in flavor. The Coulons believe that wild yeasts not only impart their own subtleties to the wine, but also allow the terroir to express itself more fully. After fermentation, the wines are left on their lees for seven months before blending, to develop body and flavor. In the spring, the various vats are blended to produce the house's four cuvées, which are then aged in bottle for a minimum of three years, well above the legal minimum of 15 months. All cuvées of Champagne Roger Coulon share a richness and earthiness typical of the wines from the Montagne de Reims. They offer, too, the opportunity to taste Champagne of great structure and aromatic intensity, qualities characteristic of a bottle that has been properly aged.

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