Champagne Roger Coulon’s Scarce and Singular “Rosélie”

Posted on Posted in Champagne Roger Coulon, Rosenthal Wine Merchant News, RWM Contributor

Edgar Coulon is a rare talent. At just 26 years of age, he is quickly becoming the guiding force of his family’s 215-year-old winery in Vrigny, in the heart of the Montagne de Reims in Champagne. Working in tandem with his tireless and supremely talented father Eric, ninth-generation Edgar has worked to steer the estate’s production toward ever-more uncompromising terroir expressivity: moving to 100% barrel fermentation (they had traditionally always employed varying proportions of oak in their vinifications); bottling individual parcels separately; and conducting experiments with cement eggs and low-sulfur Coteaux Champenois. Building upon the fully organic farming his father ushered in, Edgar is establishing himself as one of the region’s foremost visionaries at a startlingly young age, and we eagerly await even more magnificent things from him in the coming years.

Meanwhile, we have just received replenishments of a rarity from the Coulon cellar: the bold, singular “Rosélie,” a pure-saignée Champagne produced entirely from Pinot Meunier, the variety for which Coulon’s home village of Vrigny is justly famous. Though it is perhaps considered less “noble” than preening Pinot Noir and life-of-the-party Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier finds particularly elegant resonance in the sandy soils of Vrigny and its nearby villages, and when tended to with the energy-promoting and sensitive touch of the Coulons it is downright ebullient in its expressiveness.

Rosé Champagne is often unnecessarily demure, its pretty pink color and whisper of red fruit coming off as a subtle luxury upgrade to a firmly established house style. Not so with Coulon’s “Rosélie,” a boldly vinous Champagne that revels in its succulent cherry-raspberry fruit and offers a thrumming, earth-tinged minerality that neither mousse nor dosage (in this case, a mere three grams per liter) can obscure. Sourced primarily from a 50-year-old plot of Meunier in Vrigny and buttressed by a 30-year-old parcel in Gueux, the current disgorgement—all from the 2017 harvest— was vinified and aged half in used 225-liter barrels and half in tank; as always, its initial fermentation occurred spontaneously and without chaptalization, and Edgar employed 50% whole clusters in the vinification. Aged a full ten months on the lees before being bottled (without fining or filtration) for its secondary fermentation, this “Rosélie” is riotously expressive, with the house-typical 4.5 atmospheres of pressure (compared to the region-standard 6.0) allowing the tangy, juicy fruit-acid-mineral interplay to lead the way. (With raw material this immaculate, who needs to hide it behind a phalanx of foam?) The old vines lend sappy punch and further reinforce the wine’s joyful vinosity—an unabashed outpouring of Pinot Meunier at its best.

We at Rosenthal have 50 cases of this wine for the US market—more than we have ever received historically—and, given the lightning-fast response to previous shipments, this should sell through with alacrity. Those curious to experience a rosé Champagne that far exceeds the “safe-bet” status of most exemplars of the category are highly encouraged to partake in “Rosélie” while it’s still around…

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