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Bollinger Grande Annee Rosé

Bollinger is a Champagne house, a producer of sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France. They produce several labels of Champagne under the Bollinger name, including the vintage Vieille Vignes Françaises, Grand Année and R.D. as well as the non-vintage Special Cuvée. Founded in 1829 in Aÿ by Hennequin de Villermont, Paul Renaudin and Jacques Bollinger the house continues to be run by members of the Bollinger family. In Britain Bollinger Champagnes are affectionately known as "Bolly".

Bollinger is one of the last remaining independent Champagne houses. Family-managed since 1889, Bollinger maintains more than 150 hectacres of vineyards. It currently produces the following sparking wines:

  • Special Cuvée (non-vintage): The expression of the Bollinger house style. This classic Champagne blend uses grapes from a given year, with the addition of reserve wines. Champagne author Tom Stevenson describes the house style as "classic, Pinot-dominated Champagnes of great potential longevity and complexity" which "tends to go toasty." The blend includes up to 10% reserve wines, which may be up to fifteen years old. This gives the special cuvee complexity and structure. (Composition: 60% Pinot noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15%Pinot Meunier.)
  • Grande Année (vintage): When Bollinger believes there is an exceptional harvest, they will produce their prestige Champagne Grande Année ("great vintage") designed to express the character of the vintage. The house will select the best wines, cru by cru, to produce Grande Année. This Champagne is also available as a Rosé. The wine spends five years on its lees and is aged in bottle under cork, instead of crown seal. (Composition: 65% Pinot noir, 35% Chardonnay, 0% Pinot Meunier.)
  • R.D. (vintage): This blend is a logical extension of the Grand Année blend, taken further by extending the aging on lees. R.D. spends eight years on its lees, and is also, like the Grand Année, aged under cork, not crown seal. R.D. is a registered trademark of Bollinger which stands for récemment dégorgé ("recently disgorged"). In the mid-1990s, Bollinger sold Année Rare which was an R.D. that had gone under even longer aging on the lees. The disgorgement date is given on the back label.Michael Broadbent has noted that there is variation between R.D. Champagnes of the same year with different disgorgement dates. The 1981 R.D. is unique in that there was no Grande Année produced from that vintage.
  • Vieille Vignes Françaises (vintage): Regarded as Bollinger's prestige cuvee, this blanc de noirs is made in small quantity with wine from two small plots of ungrafted rootstock planted in low density (3000 vines per hectare). The English wine writer Cyril Ray suggested the idea of using the ungrafted vines to produce a separate wine to Madame Bollinger in the 1960s. The first vintage was 1969. The total area of vines used for this rare Champagne is less than half a hectare. Vieille Vignes refers to how the vines are trained rather than the age of the rootstock. The low-density vineyards, Clos St-Jacques in Aÿ and Chaudes Terres in Aÿ, are severely pruned, and thus produce 35% less juice per vine, creating a "super rich wine." In 2005, phylloxera destroyed the third vineyard used for this wine, Croix Rouge in Bouzy. Bottles are numbered and the annual production of the ungrafted plots has varied between 3000 and 5000 bottles.
  • Coteaux Champenois La Côte aux Enfants (vintage): This still red wine is produced from grapes grown on the south-facing slope of the 100% echelle vineyard, the Côte aux Enfants in Aÿ.

Rosé

2002

Bollinger

Champagne

94 AG

Mint 

6x75cl

2

IB

Sparkling wine

94 Antonio Galloni

The 2002 Brut Rose La Grande Annee is a beautifully detailed, subtle wine. A noble, intriguing bouquet leads dried roses, berries, minerals all of which come together with gorgeous articulation. There is a wonderful balance between the vinosity of the Pinot and the more chalky, minerally elements that preserve freshness. The finish is totally impeccable and classy. In a word: Sublime. This is Lot L001831. Disgorged November 10, 2009. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2015.

This is an exceptional set of new wines from Bollinger, one of Champagne’s historic houses. From top to bottom, there isn’t anything Bollinger isn’t doing well these days. I recently sat down with Chef de Caves Matthieu Kaufmann to taste through a range of the house’s 2009s. Readers will find notes on that tasting on www.erobertparker.com One of the distinguishing features of the Bollinger style is the aging of reserve wines in magnum under cork (not crown seal), a painstaking labor of love. Bollinger also has some of the most informative back labels among the region’s larger producers. It would be great to see Krug, Moet & Chandon, Roederer, Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot and a number of the region’s big houses follow suit.


Price: £945.00

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