Champagne Bollinger La Grande Année 2008: Elevé en fûts, Remué & dégorgé à la main
Tuesday 26th of March saw the global launch of the highly anticipated 2008 vintage of Champagne Bollinger La Grande Année in Aÿ.
La Grande Année is the embodiment of the carefully preserved traditional expertise of Champagne Bollinger. The wine is exclusively vinified in small, aged oak barrels. Champagne Bollinger has never abandoned this traditional craft method, which helps develop aromas of great finesse and is now the only House to employ a full time cooper. After a prolonged ageing on its lees, even today every bottle of La Grande Année is riddled and disgorged by hand.
The 2008 harvest at Champagne Bollinger resulted in a wine of infinite depth. The remarkable maturity of the grapes combined with exceptional acidity resulted in the creation of a cuvée that exalts the House’s style. Predominantly from the great vineyards of the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs, the Pinots Noirs (71%) and Chardonnays (29%) complement each other to offer a blend with a rare balance, one that perfectly combines the concentration and freshness of this vintage.
La Grande Année 2008 is Bollinger’s first prestige cuvée to have been aged in the “1846” Bollinger bottle, with its unique and identifying shape that offers beneficial properties for the quality of the wine. This bottle has been completely redesigned, inspired by a 19th-century bottle discovered in the Bollinger cellars which dates back to 1846. The idea in using the curved shape of the bottle is to aim for the perfect balance of a “small magnum” with a narrower neck and a wider base, to slightly slow down the oxygen exchange and therefore give a better quality wine with longer ageing potential.
“Producing every bottle of La Grande Année requires patience and precision, and is only possible thanks to the work of the men and women of Bollinger, whose artisinal methods have been passed down from generation to generation.” Gilles Descôtes, Chef de Cave.
The Summer of ’69
The summer of 1969 was a tumultuous and eventful time around the World. From Neil Armstrong becoming the first person to set foot on the Moon and The Beatles’ recording their final album, Abbey Road (as well as their last public performance together, on the roof of Apple Records) to the first Concorde test flight and Woodstock.
In the Douro Valley meanwhile the 1969 vintage had experienced one of the highest winter rainfalls on record. This record breaking winter was followed by a very hot July and August but the cool start to the summer meant that harvesting did not begin until early October.
Since then this extraordinary wine, sixth in a series of magnificent limited edition ports, has been aged for 50 years in oak casks at Taylor’s lodge in Gaia. The wine today is described as having a “deep mahogany” colour, “wild honey” and “cigar box aromas” on the nose and “perfectly calibrated palate…lifted by a fresh acidity,” with, “molasses, dried figs, sultanas and apricot confit”.
Adrian Bridge, managing director at Taylor’s, which owes its leadership of the aged tawny category to its extensive reserves of very old Port maturing in oak cask, said: “It is an absolutely exceptional wine, a superb example of the art of wood ageing refined by Taylor’s over the generations.”
The Delamain Cognac Prize – WSET Awards & Graduation 2019
Monday 21st January saw wine and spirit professionals from around the globe and from all aspects of the industry gather to celebrate the annual Wine & Spirit Education Trust Awards & Graduation Ceremony at London’s Guildhall. 2019 not only marks the WSET’s 50th year but also the largest ever graduating class of Diploma candidates at 532 from over 40 countries.
Paul de Newtown, a cocktail & spirits consultant, received the Delamain Cognac Prize for WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits seen below with Andrew Hawes (MD of Mentzendorff & Co.) along with Honorary President, Steven Spurrier. This prize is awarded to a student from the UK wine & spirit trade who achieved outstanding results and Paul will visit Delamain in Jarnac sometime in the coming year to study the art of Cognac.
Joseph Hallam was the winner of this year’s Vintners’ Cup whilst the Riedel Trophy for the WSET Educator of the Year was awarded to the West London Wine School. This year the WSET also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW in recognition of her contribution to the development and growth of WSET in the United States.
Kilikanoon Awarded International Wine Spirits Competition Australian Wine Producer of the Year
We are thrilled to announce that Kilikanoon has been awarded Australian Wine Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition awards banquet held at Guildhall in the City of London.
This is the fifth time in eight years that Kilikanoon has been internationally recognised as Australian Winery of the Year, previously by James Halliday in 2013 and Germany’s Mundus Vini in 2010, 2017 and 2018.
In addition the Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2014 picked up the Shiraz Trophy on the night. The announcement comes after Kilikanoon was shortlisted last month as one of the six top performing Australian producers at this year’s show, having received medals for all of the 14 wines submitted including 3 Gold medals.
Mentzendorff’s Ciara Wong and Jason Cane from Kilikanoon attended the ceremony and were in very good company on table 20 as also on their table were Chris and Gosia Bailey (Mr. & Mrs. Fine Wine) who won Independent Wine Retailer of the Year, Tom Cannavan who picked up the Communicator of the Year, Inniskillin Okanagan Ice Wines went home with the Dessert Wine Trophy and Morris Wines (Cadella Wines) won Fortified Wine Producer of the year.
Well done to the team at Kilikanoon and all of the other worthy winners!