Champagne Bollinger - Press Comments

Äy, Champagne, France

Champagne Bollinger

Special Cuvée

“60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Meunier sourced from more than 300 crus, including 85% grands and permiers crus; 15% fermented in old oak barrels. The complexity and richness of Special Cuvée is unparalleled among the entry non-vintage blends of ever Champagne house, short of ascending to the mesosphere of Krug. Its grand recipe explains why, built on incredible depth of 50%-60% reserves. Triumphant complexity is a given at Bollinger, but it’s the dynamic freshness and vitality that really set it apart as one of the most affordable Champagne benchmarks.” 96 points

Tyson Stelzer, Decanter
1st July 2020

“Fine bubbles combine nicely with the cooked apples, pie crust and lemon rind. Some biscuit, too. Full body. Layered and creamy with a crisp finish. Always delicious.” 92 points

James Suckling, jamesuckling.com
2nd September 2019

 

Rosé

“A fruity and fresh, tangy rosé with peach and apple aromas and flavors and hints of cream and lemon rind. Subtle and satisfying.” 93 points

James Suckling, jamesuckling.com
2nd September 2019

“A wonderful rose that is generous, rich, filled with red berry flavors while still having the core backbone of minerality and tension. A beautiful rose with a lingering finish.” 94 points

Jeannie Cho Lee MW
November 2016

 

PN VZ15

“This is a new premium non-vintage blanc de noirs with a sense of place. After a complex nose of spices, apple, yeast and brioche, the palate surprises with its racy, saline, cool Verzenay frutiness, married to the generosity of Ay, Bouzy and Tauxieres fruit. In the mouth, it offers textured richness from a big splash of reserve wines from Bollinger’s special, long-aged magnums. An exciting novelty that shows off the house’s Pinot wealth and know-how.” 92 points

Essi Avellan, Club Oenologique 
1st November 2020

 

Simon Field MW, Decanter
16th October 2020

A fabulous Champagne, the NV PN VZ 15 is a new wine from Bollinger and the first addition to the range in over a decade. As the name implies, it is a 100% Pinot Noir built on a core of fruit from Verzenay and based on the 2015 vintage. Bollinger’s most iconic wine is of course the super-rare and expensive 100% Pinot Noir Vielles Vignes Françaises. A few years ago, Bollinger set out on a path to exalt the unique characteristics of their Pinot. For this project, the four leads of the winemaking team headed by Cellar Master Gilles Descôtes and Deputy Cellar Master Denis Bunner were tasked with each creating a new cuvée. The conditions: the wine had to be non-vintage, 100% Pinot Noir and possible to offer at both an affordable price and with some scale. The four wines were tasted blind and the winner is the new PN VZ 15, the first in a series of upcoming releases that will explore the many shades of Pinot at Bollinger. I tasted it recently with Bunner and General Manager Charles-Armand de Belenet and was super impressed.

Bright and vibrant on the palate, the PN VZ 15 captures all of the Pinot richness that is such a Bollinger signature but with the freshness and verve that make Pinots from Verzenay so distinctive. Rich red fruit, mint, dried flower and spice notes play off bright acids and veins of saline-drenched minerals in a display of aromas, flavors and textures that dazzle all the senses. Think of it as a baby VVF, but with the tension of Verzenay. The blend is approximately 50% Verzenay and 50% Aÿ, Bouzy and Louvois, done about half in steel and half in oak. This release is based on the 2015 vintage (50% of the blend), with reserve wines that go back to 2009, including 20% from the reserve magnums Bollinger is so famous for. This bottle was disgorged in November 2019 and dosage is 7 grams per liter, about average for Bollinger today.

As I have written before, many of Champagne’s big houses have embraced the ambitious spirit of grower Champagne with their recent bottlings, wines that often place more emphasis on variety and place than the flagship blended cuvées that are the core of what Champagne has represented in the past. This is yet another example. The new PN VZ 15 is superb, and sharply priced as well, something that is not often the case with new grande marque Champagnes these days. Don’t miss it.94 points

Antonio Galloni, Vinous
August 2020

“Very Bollinger (even more than Pinot Noir) on the nose, but livelier than the regular NV. Very fine texture and bead indeed on the palate. A little (not excessive) oaky note on the end. A very fine, elegant, well-integrated interpretation of Pinot Noir. Long peacock’s-tail finish. Very accomplished. Though it’s arguably too complex to be a suitable aperitif. A champagne for geeks?” 17.5/20

Jancis Robinsson
13th July 2020

“A bright new star has arisen from deep within the pinot noir firmament. The first new permanent addition to the hallowed portfolio of Bollinger in 12 years is a monumental blanc de noirs that encapsulates the generosity of the house within its ever more detailed regime. Departing its home on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims, it has tactically jumped over the hill to the cooler northern aspect of the fabled grand cru of Verzenay in the warm 2015 vintage, yet very much retaining the beloved DNA of the house. The result is a deeply spicy and exuberant expression of this elegant terroir, abounding in mixed spice, anise and cardamom and deep, luscious strokes of blackberries and bright red cherries. There are subtle flitters of fruit mince spice and orange rind along for this dynamic ride. Bollinger’s characteristic old barrel fermentation builds depth of creamy texture and signature layers of complexity. The brightness of the great slopes of Verzenay shines through, even in the warm 2015 season, charged with wonderfully ripe yet vibrant acidity and omnipresent chalk minerality of glittering, crystalline energy. The phenolic structure inherent to this season is neatly and masterfully woven into its folds. It’s emphatically Bollinger, definitively Verzenay, exactingly pinot noir and characteristically 2015 – a wonderful yet difficult balance to achieve. A triumph for the season, and downright delicious.” 97 points

Tyson Steltzer
8th July 2020

“Marvelously powerful aromatics with delectable scents of toast, smoked hazelnuts and pastry, as well as top notes of mint. From the start, the palate is impressively vinous and concentrated but tightens in a way that tapers to a long, fine chalky finish. The hazelnut reappears along with white fruit and a touch of white flowers. This is an irresistible Champagne that expresses a combination of serious structure and real fruited charm. This is a welcome and successful new entry to Bollinger’s prestigious line-up, one that should perfectly suit a dish of quail, for example.” 94 points

Yohan Castaing, Decanter
7th July 2020

 

La Grande Année 2012

“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.” 94 points

Antonio Galloni, Vinous
August 2020

“On the elegant nose, this win’s cool fine, cool fruitiness is at the fore, with lovely spicy, oaky and nutty notes in support. Lemony fruitiness with yellow apple and ripe apricot emerge in the glass. On the palate, the key word is balance; this is a very complete Champagne with freshness, intensity, refined tension and chalky salinity all in perfect harmony the 8g/l dosage is spot on. Still young, but this has the building blocks of longevity.” 95 points

Essi Avellan, Club Oenologique 
1st November 2020

 

La Grande Année 2008

“Bollinger’s 2008 La Grande Année is superb, wafting from the glass with aromas of crisp orchard fruit, ripe lemons, honeycomb, warm biscuits, dried white flowers and a delicate top note of walnuts and fino sherry. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a beautifully refined mousse, superb concentration at the tightly wound core, incisive acids and a supremely elegant intermingling of Bollinger’s oxidative stylistic signatures with fresh, vibrant fruit. The finish is long, precise and chalky. This is a Grande Année built for the cellar—the real excitement will come with a bit more bottle age—but this is already a thrilling Champagne in the making. Finished with eight grams per liter dosage, it was disgorged by hand in July 2018. This is also the first vintage of Grande Année to be bottled in Bollinger’s new narrower-necked 1846 bottle, which should make for a slower evolving wine.” 97+ points

William Kelley, Wine Advocate
29th March 2019

“In 2008, the remarkable maturity of the grapes combined with an amazing acidity has produced a vintage of great balance, concentration and depth. The wine was aged for nine years on its lees, then for another year following disgorgement. Bright straw in colour with pinprick bubbles, it blooms on the nose with a fresh lemon leaf aroma, a sniff of strawberry and white chocolate and a candied peanut toastiness in depth. On the palate it’s silky, broad and lingering, showing a kind of bittersweet fruit profile with grapefruit and peach kernel notes, and an amazing chalky, mineral finish. It will keep well. Wait to drink it if in magnum or bigger.” 97 points

Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter
26th March 2019

 

La Grande Année 2007

“This has a very attractive, grapefruit and lemon edge to the nose with toasty and ripe, expressive, fruit notes that follow through to the smooth palate with an attractive, toasty build at the finish. Disgorged in November 2017.” 93 points

James Suckling, jamesuckling.com
5th September 2018

“A bright, lacy Champagne, offering a tapestry of finely woven flavors; graphite and ground spice, crushed blackberry and dried apricot, toast and honeycomb. Firm and focused, with a lasting, chalky finish.” 94 points

Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
21st May 2017

 

La Grande Année Rosé 2012

“The 2012 La Grande Année Rosé is airy, gracious and so wonderfully inviting. Crushed flowers, mint, white pepper and red berry fruit are all gracefully woven together. Today, the 2012 is naturally quite young and still shows the tension of a Champagne that was disgorged just a few months ago. Readers who prefer Champagnes with softer edges and a bit more flavor complexity will want to cellar the 2012. I have to admit, I very much like the wine today, in its youthful state, where its energy and focus are front and center. The 2012 is a blend of 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay taken from 21 villages built around a core of Aÿ and Verzenay Pinot Noir and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oiry Chardonnay, crus that are quite complementary. Disgorged January 2020. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.” 96 points

Antonio Galloni, Vinous
August 2020

“5% of red wine has been added by assemblage from the legendary La Cote Aux Enfants vineyard in Aÿ. The resulting power is subtle, gastronomic and bewitching: as a corollary to a lighter, onion-skin colour, there’s an intensity and length on the palate allied to perfect integration of the 8g/l of sugar and the legacy of both oak fermentation and long yeast maturation, the latter under cork. The vinous power is such that this will match rich, savoury dishes such as quail, venison, pigeon and guinea fowl. A triumph!” 96 points

Simon Field, Decanter
17th February 2020

 

La Grande Année Rosé 2007

“Medium onion-skin. Coffee lees expression over dark cherry, some flint and dried-herb savouriness. Some old-cream complexity that needs coaxing from the glass. Firm, chalky texture with red and black cherry, some orange-citrus and plenty of nutty lees. Fine, brooding and dense. Needs time to open. Very fine rosé.” 18/20

Jancis Robinsson
12th April 2019

“An enticingly rewarding nose of apricot, flint and toast leads to a palate that’s just as good and even more developed, with honey, brioche marzipan and bruised apple notes. It has super tension and drive. Compelling, delicious and distinctive.” 97 points

John Stimpfig, Decanter
2nd November 2018

 

Bollinger R.D. 2004

“The 2004 Extra-Brut R.D. is a very pretty, understated Champagne that shows the more nuanced side that is typical of the vintage, while the signature Bollinger richness lies more in the background. That is the same impression I had last year, when I tasted the 2004 from magnum at the maison. Apricot, plum, hazelnut, chamomile, spice and dried flowers all open with a bit of aeration. The R.D. is not an obvious or overt Champagne, but it is quite beautiful. It will be interesting to see if a bit more richness develops post-disgorgement. The 2004 is 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay taken from 16 villages, 88% Grand Crus and 12% Premier Crus. Dosage is 3 grams per liter.” 95 points

Antonio Galloni, Vinous
August 2020

“A superb moment for this late-disgorged vintage Champagne. All the complexity and fruit are here, in the right proportions, on the nose and palate. Grilled peaches, grapefruit, lemons, hazelnuts, espresso and more. Super long, majestic and so rewardingly complex.” 97 points

James Suckling, jamesuckling.com
5th September 2018

“Not surprisingly, everything about this wine is accentuated and demonstrative, visually, aromatically and also, crucially, in sheer flavour complexity terms on the stunning palate. With 3gm/L dosage, this is a thrillingly fresh wine. We tasted three different examples of dosage (0, 3 and 8 grams per litre of sugar) and it was clear that 3 was the most appropriate for this wine. The blend is 66% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay. The colour is very pale gold for an R.D. and given its age, this is a very important sign for the future. Harmonious on the nose and very refreshing and bright on the palate, this is a wine that will appeal to fans of R.D. and also those who might have previously have thought this wine style too imposing and powerful. It is the completeness of this wine which impresses me most. Bollinger is refining all of its wines, from days gone by where the wines could have been marked down for being too muscular and woody. ‘Bollinger-style’ has both very positive and some mildly negative connotations. Today, with the recent vintage releases the wines show true Bollinger style, but with augmented finesse and refinement.” 19+/20

Matthew Jukes, matthewjukes.com
22nd March 2018

“Very classical forward, intense, tertiary RD (recently disgorged) nose with brioche, spice box and candied fruit. Fine, piercing acidity is ably supplemented by a bone dry, richly textured, vinous mouthfeel that glides across the palate. Great generosity, complexity and youthful harmony with orange peel, tart-tatin, bread, roasted cashew, minerals and nougat flavours. Elegantly well-structured with a fine persistent mousse and a long saline finish. This is absolutely ready now, particularly if you prefer your RD with a deliberately fresh and vibrant aromatic profile. According to cellar master Gilles Descotes, this is really the point of RD in certain vintages like 2004. ‘So I would recommend that you open it within the next twelve months in order to capture and enjoy this very particular aromatic expression.’ Alternatively, if you prefer a touch more honey and praline notes, keep it in bottle for another five years – or more!” 96 points

John Stimpfig , Decanter
22nd March 2018

“Mid gold colour. Smoky hints on the nose. Creamy texture, salty. Ripe, slightly honeyed aromas. Brioche and baked apple. Moderate intensity on the palate, but there is good persistence and a touch of savoury salinity on the finish. Lovely honeysuckle and cream on the length. Still a long way to go, but superbly open already. Seems softer in acidity than the 2002.” 18+/20

Richard Hemming MW , jancisrobinson.com
22nd March 2018

 

Bollinger R.D. 2004 en Magnum

“Quite different to the regular bottle, with much more autolytic character and riper fruit too with a sort of orange peel fruit. Has the same slight honeyed note and generous flinty note. Not the biggest in terms of sheer weight, but certainly packed full of flavour.” 18.5/20

Richard Hemming MW , jancisrobinson.com
22nd March 2018

 

Bollinger R.D. 2002

“60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay – highest Chardonnay vintage, looks magnificent with exquisite length and incredible precision. Still extraordinarily tense and fine with an epic length and control.” 19.5+/20

Matthew Jukes, matthewjukes.com
22nd March 2018

“The most remarkable thing about the 2002 Extra Brut R.D. is how tense and structured it is. Despite having been disgorged over two years ago, the 2002 is very much tightly wound. After several hours, the power and resonance of the vintage start to come through, along with the natural richness of Pinot from Aÿ. Whereas most 2002 Champagnes are quite ripe in profile, the 2002 R.D. has plenty of depth, but it is depth through concentration as opposed to elevated ripeness. The low dosage style further adds to that sensation. Hints of chamomile, sage, dried flower and red fruits emerge over time, but only with reluctance. I would prefer to cellar the 2002 for at least a few years. If that is not possible, readers should open the wine at least a few hours in advance. Even so, the 2002’s best drinking lies somewhere in the future. My sense is that the 2002 will be at its best between the ages of 20 and 30. Disgorged: September 11, 2015” 95 points

Antonio Galloni, Vinous
December 2017

“Tasted blind. Dark gold. Mushrooms (a mature Bollinger trademark), savoury and density with a dry finish. Definitely Bollinger R.D. Some refinement too. Reminds me a little of fine saki – umami?” 19/20

Jancis Robinson
December 2016

“This gorgeous, complex Champagne just kept improving in the glass as it opened up. Like a great white wine, the wine expanded, adding depth and length with aeration. Flavors range from toast, citrus to spices and orange peel – still primary flavors suggesting the wine has a long way to go. Impressive wine.” 97 points

Jeannie Cho Lee MW
November 2016

“The R.D. is revolutionary, and this wine is back on form, from a great vintage that is showing really well. Disgorged in 2015, it shows lovely development; rich but not heavy, with very elegant, complex herbal tea and truffle notes.”

Gerard Basset MW, Decanter
November 2016

 

Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2007

“The world has about 3000 bottles to fight off of this extraterrestrial nectar. I am delighted that they have dared to have 8 grams of sugar in its dosage this seductive vintage. From the beginning, my senses are bombarded by colossal impressive, magnificent and colorful impressions. The essence of inflated fruit is similar to a Beerenauslese from Rheingau as well as white and red Burgundy of the finest brand. Extremely drinkable from start in a similar style as  the 1990 and 1989 back in the days. Personally, I am convinced that VVF has become even more concentrated and high-graded when the vineyard in Bouzy disappeared and we are dealing with 100% Aÿ. 2008 has all the conditions to become one of history’s greatest. Until then, I’m delighted to enjoy this deliciously sensuous dainty bit which on the highest volume conveys notes of orange marmalade, honey, roses, honeysuckle, olive oil, tar, black truffle and cep mushroom in a unisoned golden symphony.” 98 points

Richard Juhlin
January 2018