Family owned and controlled, Bollinger is dedicated to producing a consistent and distinctive style of Champagne. Bollinger’s wines are predicated by their unique vineyards: rich, assertive and with great power, yet always with finesse.
La Grande Année is the Prestige Cuvée of Champagne Bollinger. It is only produced when exceptional quality harvests occur, and is the expression of Bollinger’s know-how. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay 13 crus: mainly Aÿ and Verzenay for the Pinot Noir and Avize, Chouilly and Mesnil-sur-Oger for the Chardonnay - 95% Grands crus and 5% Premier crus Fermented entirely in barrels. At Bollinger, only very high quality harvests become vintage: 2005 was a temperate and generous year and revealed a champagne with a great aromatic ripeness.
The bombastic complexity that defines Bollinger rises to a grand and flamboyant crescendo in the mighty 2012 season. True to the vintage, it presents a medium straw hue, deeper in colour, tone and mood than the dynamic 2008 before it. The pure red and black cherries of ripe pinot noir from the grand slopes of Aÿ are masterfully toned by the perfume and energy of the north-east-facing hillside of Verzenay, backed by the citrus zest of Le Mesnil and Oiry chardonnay. It’s simultaneously ripe, juicy, zesty and tense, with fruit presence of tantalising beauty seamlessly fused with fine chalk minerality and an acid line of sensational drive, yet at every moment perfectly ripe and effortlessly integrated. Fruit rightly takes a confident lead here, with the fig, spice, honey and roast almond of barrel fermentation and bottle age welling up in a rising background chorus. The modern era of Bollinger’s attentiveness in the vineyards and cellar characterises a style ever more pure and seamless. This does nothing to diminish the multifaceted layers of signature complexity of Bollinger. Indeed, it somehow manages to pull off the feat of achieving precisely the opposite, magnifying and focusing its myriad details with greater clarity than ever. This serves to present the mood of the season with more articulate typicity than ever, while celebrating all of the rumbling depth and power that we love of Bollinger. While it won’t live as long as the enduring 2008 (no house will) it achieves equal heights of fantastic line and incredible length. The result is consummately 2012, emphatically Bollinger and gloriously, irresistibly delicious. Rating: 98 Points; Tyson Stelzer
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