The third in a trio of superb vintages this century (2002, 2008 and 2012), the newly released Bollinger La Grande Année 2012 is exquisite. As per the Wine Advocate, the palate is ‘concentrated, built around a bright spine of acidity… and a chalky finish’, whilst Jancis Robinson opined that this wine is ‘quite arresting’ and ‘clearly a long-distance runner’.
The epitome of extremes (frost, hail, rain and drought), the exceptional 2012 has been widely described as a ‘miraculous’ vintage. For Bollinger, 2012 was ‘one of the ultimate statements of Pinot Noir’. La Grande Année 2012 is a classic blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay sourced from 21 crus across Champagne. As with all Grande Année wines, the 2012 was fermented in oak, aged under cork and agrafe, hand-riddled and hand-disgorged in May 2019 after 7 years on the lees.
2012 was a smaller harvest than 2008 and some will be held back for the 2012 R.D., whose release is at least 5 years away. Therefore, we only have a limited parcel of the 2012 available.
Bollinger, La Grande Année 2012
Disgorged in July 2019, Bollinger’s 2012 Brut La Grande Année is showing well, offering up an incipiently complex bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, fresh peach, orange oil, toasted walnuts and dried apricot that’s still quite reserved with less than a year on cork. Full-bodied, deep and muscular, the 2012 is blockier and broader-shouldered than its 2008 predecessor, with a weightier and even more concentrated palate built around a bright spine of acidity, concluding with a chalky finish that carries appreciably dry extract. This isn’t quite as elegant as the exquisite 2008, but it is a superb effort and obviously built to age. 2024 – 2050. – William Kelley, Wine Advocate, 95/100
I love the magical moment when I get the chance, as the first journalist, to lighten the cork of the latest vintage of Bollinger La Grande Année…….The wine is made from 21 villages with Aÿ and Verzenay in the driver’s seat backed by elegance from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oiry. The wine is characterized by vitality and energy more than depth at present. The color has a brilliant golden glow and the mousse is almost panting in its resilient youthfulness. The scent is beautifully house typical, dominated by apricot, almond, hazelnut and a smoky sophisticated intensity as from a newly lit outdoor fire. The attack is stunningly intense and the weight in the oral cavity leaves nothing left to wish for. Resilient energy and fullness are combined with greatness. Anyone who has patience will be rewarded with truffled flavor layers, chocolate saturated complexity and added exoticism of honeysuckle in the wine’s bouquet. – Richard Juhlin, 95/100
The 2012 Grande Année is vibrant and wonderfully nuanced. Citrus peel, orchard fruit, brioche, dried flowers and chamomile are all finely knit in a Grand Année built on energy and persistence more than size. Readers will find a restrained Grand Année in 2012. There is plenty of the textural richness that is such a signature of the house style, but I am also struck by the wine’s freshness. Best of all, the 2012 will drink well right out of the gate. It is quite expressive today, even in the early going. 2020 – 2030. – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 94/100