Last night Denis Bunner, the Deputy Cellar Master at Bollinger, offered Wine Cellar and our guests deep insight into the family-owned Bollinger House which first produced Champagne in 1830.
Barrel fermentation, Pinot Noir dominated cuvées and, most importantly, magnum-aged reserve wines gives rise to their unique and beautiful style . In fact, Bollinger ages 700,000 magnums of reserve wine which they use for blending – of which 90,000 are used for the Special Cuvée each year.
The Special Cuvée heralds mostly from Grand and Premier Cru 2012 as well as 5 other vintages back to 2003. It offers amazing complexity and richness for a Non Vintage. The Rosé is light in colour, in an elegant style with beautiful poise and ample richness.
The Bollinger La Grande Année is only produced in top vintages. The 2005 vintage was extremely small but produced emphatic wines that can be consumed young.
The R.D. (Recently Disgorged) from the legendary 2002 vintage was, of course, the highlight of the evening. Unbelievably fresh and deep – James Suckling gives it 99/100 describing it as ‘thrilling Champagne‘. We agree!
To see more photographs from our Bollinger tasting, view the gallery here.
Bollinger, Special Cuvée NV – R 750
Aromatic, with accents of bread dough, smoked almond and crème de cassis, this creamy Champagne is lightly chalky in texture and framed by firm acidity, with flavors of glazed apricot, orange blossom and rich hints of clover honey and coffee liqueur. Drink now through 2022. – Wine Spectator, 93/100
Bollinger, Rosé NV – R 1,050
This refined rosé shows verve, offering finely meshed flavors of dried black cherry and pomegranate fruit, with notes of almond skin, gingerbread, honey and candied orange zest. A vein of smoky minerality gains momentum on the lasting finish. Drink now through 2020. – Wine Spectator, 93/100
Bollinger, La Grande Année 2005 – R 1,650
A powerful, structured and graceful 2005, showing deft integration of the rich, chalky underpinning, firm acidity and expansive flavors of crushed black currant, spring blossom, toasted almond, crystallized honey and preserved lemon. Offers a fine, raw silk—like mousse and a long, spiced finish. Disgorged February 2015. Drink now through 2030. – Wine Spectator, 94/100
R.D. Extra Brut 2002 – R2,750
A fine example of power married to elegance, this is impeccably balanced, with a mouthwatering palate of crème de cassis, toasted brioche, fleur de sel and crystallized honey flavors. The rich, smoky underpinning is carried on a finely detailed bead. Disgorged March 2014. Drink now through 2030. – Wine Spectator, 96/100
Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose – plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there’s a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavours give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavours, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. Drink from 2016. – James Suckling, 99/100