Coulon’s Sublime Red Wines

Edgar Coulon produces a mere two barrels per vintage of his pair of hauntingly pure Coteaux Champenois Rouge.

Champagne Roger Coulon is undergoing a slow and careful baton pass from father Eric to son Edgar (the ninth generation of Coulon here), and the family’s already remarkable wines continue to improve each year as wunderkind Edgar’s influence increases. They just celebrated their first harvest with organic certification, and Edgar has been employing a higher proportion of used barrels in the elevage of the vins clairs to great effect. As always, fermentations here are spontaneous, sulfur is applied sparingly, lees aging is lengthy, and dosages are modest (when applied at all).

While Champagne comprises the large majority of the 11-hectare estate’s output, Edgar produces a few barrels each vintage of two absolutely spectacular Coteaux Champenois: one pure Pinot Noir, and one pure Pinot Meunier—the specialty of Coulon’s home village of Vrigny. 

Much still red wine produced in the region suffers a bit from wannabe syndrome, but Edgar states that he adamantly does not want to make “Burgundy-style” Coteaux Champenois, and he vinifies and ages his reds in a manner that highlights their northerly sleekness and their finely etched mineral character: grapes are vinified whole-cluster with semi-carbonic maceration occurring for the first three days, then gentle hand-pigeage is performed until the fermentation is complete; the wines then spend nearly two years in used 228-liter barrels. No sulfur is applied at any point in the process, but the wines are as stable and flawless as one could wish—a testament to the health of the fruit and the precision and cleanliness of Edgar’s winemaking.

2019 Coteaux Champenois Rouge “Le Mont Moine” [Pinot Meunier]

An extremely rare example of a pure-Pinot-Meunier Coteaux Champenois, this hails from old vines in a south-exposed sand-dominated parcel in the premier cru village of Vrigny in the Montagne de Reims. Aromas are clearly elucidated and cover a broad frequency range (Indian spice, ripe plums, white pepper, strawberry preserves), but the wine truly dazzles in its silken texture and its sense of glow. 

2019 Coteaux Champenois Rouge “Les Champs Chevalier” [Pinot Noir]

From a sandy east-facing parcel in Vrigny, this pure Pinot Noir displays sexy red-cherry varietal notes framed by dark spice tones. Unfettered by sulfur and aromatically dazzling, this truly sets itself apart—as with the Meunier above–in its haunting texture, a marriage of density and weightlessness which only the very greatest examples of this coveted grape variety achieve. 

More on Champagne Roger Coulon here.