On the 10th of June there’s a long awaited launch of one of the true legends of Champagne gems from Bollinger @ Systembolaget; 2008 Bollinger ‘Vieilles Vignes Françaises’.
Bollinger’s most exclusive champagne in one of the best vintages for champagne, on June 10, it’s time for the launch of Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2008.
Bollinger ‘Vieilles Vignes Françaises’ may be the house’s ultra-prestigious champagne, but it’s not entirely wrong to say that Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises is a symbol of a bygone era and a reminder of what once was. As the only producer in Champagne, Bollinger owns two vineyards with old ungrafted vines. The farms are a stone’s throw from Bollinger’s house in Aÿ. It is fascinating to think about what it is that makes the two farms that are only protected by stone walls survive the wine lice when it attacked logs that are on the other side of the wall. Until 2004, Bollinger owned three non-phylloxera-infested vineyards, but after the harvest, one of them was affected by the wine lice and the Grand Cru vineyards Chaudes Terres and Clos St Jacques now remain in Aÿ. In these farms, all work is done according to the traditional and completely manual method “provignage” and therefore looks very wild compared to the modern tied logs. The harvest is also done by hand, sometimes with the help of a horse and cart.
Bollinger only produces its vintage champagne in the years when the harvest is of the highest quality. Producing Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises with vintage 2008 was therefore an easy decision. The harvest could take place on September 16 and the quality of the house’s Pinot noir was superb. The wine is made from 100% pinot noir Grand Cru (Blanc de Noirs) and the fermentation took place entirely in old oak barrels. The wine was then stored with nature cards for more than twice as long as the appellation requires.
In the early 20th century, the vines of Champagne were destroyed by phylloxera. In order to fight the devastating insect, all vines in Champagne had to be replanted using American rootstock. Everything, except two Bollinger plots in Aÿ classified as Grand cru which remained untouched: Chaudes Terres and Clos St Jacques.
To this day, these two plots are grown the traditional way, following the ‘provignage’ method, worked by hand and even sometimes with the help of a horse. Bollinger ‘Vieilles Vignes Françaises’ is a symbol of a bygone era: an extraordinary and moving legacy.
A total of 3,180 numbered bottles of the 2008 ‘Vieilles Vignes Françaises’ vintage were produced.