Champagne Roger Coulon
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Country of Origin: France
Location: Vrigny, Champagne
People: Eric & Isabelle Coulon, Owners
Viticulture: Certified Organic
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Eric and Isabelle Coulon are the representatives of the eighth generation of the Coulon family to be engaged as recoltant-manipulant growers, producing Champagne from Vrigny and the surrounding villages in the northwest corner of the Montagne de Reims. Since 1806, this family has gradually increased its holdings so that there are now 10 hectares (24.7 acres) under vines, almost all located within the 1er Cru rated villages of Vrigny, Coulommes and Pargny (more than 80 plots), about 10 kilometers in distance from Reims. Production at Champagne Roger Coulon is approximately 90,000 bottles per year.
The vineyards are planted 40% to Pinot Meunier, 30% to Pinot Noir and 30% to Chardonnay. The average age of the vines is 38 years, a rarity in Champagne where old vines, and the limited production that is the result thereof, are often considered a curse rather than a blessing. Further, the vineyards are planted by the selection massale process rather than with modern clones. No herbicides are used, and harvest is done manually. The juice from the red grapes is fermented and aged in stainless steel but much of the Chardonnay is fermented in small oak barrels (not new). Only the natural, indigenous yeasts are used. The use of sulfur is limited. Depending on the harvest, the rate used is always under the Champagne average.
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Wine Advocate 8/2022
"Eric and Isabelle Coulon, seconded by their children Louise and Edgar, farm 11 hectares, divided into fully 120 parcels, in the northern Montagne de Reims, mostly in Vrigny and its environs, where Meunier growing in sandy soils dominates—some of it ungrafted, and all of it, in the Coulon's case, derived from massale selections. Viticulture, certified organic since 2019, is progressive, with cover crops to control humidity and thus mitigate disease pressure (Meunier is susceptible to rot), and it follows agroforestry initiatives; and Eric Coulon, much like his brother-in-law Francis Egly, believes in picking late in pursuit of full physiological maturity. In the cellar, some cuvées see oak barrels (with 10% to 15% new wood), and the target is some 4.5 to five kilograms of pressure, as opposed to the more standard six. These are vinous, intensely flavored Champagnes of considerable character, lent a particular texture and grain by their emphasis on Meunier growing on sand, so I'm a little ashamed that it has taken me so long to beat a path to the Coulons' door, given the quality and consistency this visit revealed. These wines will certainly find a place in my own cellar, and I warmly encourage readers to try them."
"Eric Coulon crafts beautifully expressive, resonant Champagnes. One of the distinctive attributes of these wines is the significant presence of Meunier in many of the cuvées. Aging in oak brings out added texture without being dominant or overpowering. All four wines I tasted were superb and full of character."