Olivier Collard’s family has been making wine in Champagne for several generations, Olivier’s grandfather being something of a local legend in Villers-sous-Chatillon. But the Collards are anything but dynastic - rather, they are devoted to building something new with every generation. Olivier’s father set out on his own, building his own Champagne house and business outside the shadow of Olivier’s grandfather. Then, when the time came (in 1996), Olivier founded Collard-Picard with his wife Caroline Picard. Caroline’s family farmed the Côte des Blancs, while Olivier’s vines were in the Vallée de la Marne. With tremendous Chardonnay from Mesnil, and great Pinot (Noir & Meunier) to select, Olivier sets an uncompromising standard of excellence in the winery. He cuts the press juice in four (standard practice is three) and selects only the free run and gentlest cuts, preferring to sell the more phenolic juice to other houses. The results are fantastic. The Cuvée Selection sees only tank ageing, while all the other cuvées go into oak foudres for much of their élévage. The oak is used more for mouthfeel than flavour, and the richness that results often lead to comparisons to Krug.