The family name Colin is a hard one to escape in the Cote de Beaune, with a handful of prolific producers dotted around Saint Aubin, Puligny and Chassagne Montrachet all sharing the name. Consumers could be forgiven for getting a little confused over which one is which!
We caught up with Joseph Colin, the newest Colin to go solo, following in his big brother’s footsteps (Pierre Yves Colin Morey) by separating from his family domaine (Marc Colin) to produce wines under his own name.
Pierre Yves Colin Morey was the first of the brothers to set up his own label in 1994 – initially as a négociant buying in grapes with his wife Caroline Morey. In 2005 he broke away completely from the family domaine. The story goes that his father Marc Colin separated the 24 hectares of his estate into four quarters and made each of his four children pick their share of the vineyards out of a hat.
The Extended Colin Family Tree
Pierre Yves Colin Morey walked away with 6 hectares of the family’s plots, whilst the rest of the family continued to produce wine under the Domaine Marc Colin label, headed up by Joseph. That is until the 2017 vintage, when Joseph split from his two remaining siblings Damien and Caroline and followed in his older brother’s footsteps to set up Domaine Joseph Colin.
The Colin family (Joseph, Caroline, Damien)
The Joseph Colin Approach
Joseph Colin prefers the more tense style of white Burgundy. A longer élevage process, no settling, no racking, no battonage, larger oak barrel and no filtration makes for precise, finessed white Burgundy, with a focus on fresh fruit, mineral tension, bright acidity, minimal oak influence, and a very pure clarity of fruit. Most of the quality however comes from his work in the vineyard, reducing yields down to just six or seven bunches per vine.
What also stands him apart are his experiments with reducing the amount of SO2 used in his wines, to attain what he believes is a “purer” expression of the fruit and terroir. His goal is to protect terroir expression by not marking/polluting the wines with “winemaker’s hands”. He manages this by picking slightly earlier, keeping pH levels low, enabling him to reduce the amount of SO2 without any risk of oxidation. It means he can withhold using any SO2 at all until final bottling. The results are fantastic!
Following a visit to the domaine this summer to taste the 2018s in barrel, the F+R Buying team came back incredibly excited by their first visit, reporting it as one of the highlights of the whole week of tastings up and down the Cote d’Or. The tremendous quality should come as no surprise, since he has been working on these vineyards his whole life, under the guidance of two of the Cote de Beaune’s most respected producers, his father Marc Colin and his brother Pierre Yves Colin Morey. Between them their knowledge of these prime sites in Saint Aubin, Chassagne Montrachet and Puligny Montrachet has made this new domaine wise beyond its years.
Joseph Colin produces an incredible 19 cuvées from just 7 hectares, mostly from the St Aubin and Chassagne Montrachet appellations. The style is very sharp, fresh, mineral driven wines, with proper terroir definition, his St Aubin Chatenière really stands out for its rocky, stony, mineral aromas, while his old vine Chassagne “Vide Bourse” showcases pure Chassagne style with the richness of the neighboring Batard, yet keeping great precision and tension.
The vineyards of St Aubin
The 2018 Vintage
Joseph could not be happier with this 2018s. For him the growing season was perfect. The flowering went very well. The summer was really warm and dry, which he states “helped the vines to be in perfect health and achieve a very good maturity. The low rain for this vintage offered a beautiful acidity on the entire harvest.”
The harvesting was a little complicated only because it was vital for Joseph to pick at the right maturity, which meant the harvest lasted for four weeks! The first plot harvested was very early (28th August) and the last one was harvested on the 20th of September. The harvest and weather conditions were ideal with no rain at all. On the hottest days Joseph decided not to pick any plots, simply for the health and safety of his pickers!
With the wines safely in barrel and through malolactic I asked Joseph his opinion on the vintage. He believes it to be a “beautiful vintage, very nice and concentrated with a nice degree of acidity. The health of the vines was perfect, producing wines that are fine, long on the palate and rich. It is the type of vintage we wish to receive every year”.
His personal favourites in the vintage are his Chassagne Montrachets which “have made the most of this fantastic natural acidity, giving them an amazing structure and depth. This vintage is truly exceptional, everything is there: acidity, healthy colour, minerality… All our wines have benefited from this outstanding quality.”
They really are an exceptional collection of wines and we are thrilled to be able to offer these wines direct from the domaine in 2018.