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This week it was time for Champagne Friday 12.0 – Friday Champagne 12.0 – 2014 Bollinger ‘La Grande Année’ & 2014 La Grande Année Rosé.
Bollinger accourding to Champagne Club by Richard Juhlin
Joseph Bollinger was the German from Würtemberg who founded this ancient house in 1829. The French called him simply “Jacques.” The firm’s large estates in the best Pinot villages were bought by his sons Georges and Joseph, and in 1918 it was time for the next Jacques to take over the property. He became the mayor of Aÿ, but died during the German occupation at the age of forty-seven.
The most colorful person in the history of the house is his widow, Lily Bollinger, who kept a watchful eye on every bunch of grapes by cycling through the vineyards regularly. Her rigorous demands for quality still run through the house to this day.
Now Bollinger is run by Charles-Armand de Belenet, who control over 178 hectares,(104 with pinot noir) providing 70 percent of the grape supply. Most of of the wines are Selection Massalle no 386 planted in the twenties. The winemaker today is the wonderful “terroirist” Denis Bunner. Besides the house’s exceptional vineyards, they also use very expensive vinification methods. All the vintage wines are fermented in small, aged oak barrels and are never filtered. Malolactic fermentation—which would probably take place very late in the process—is not encouraged either. The reserve wines are stored at low pressure in magnums.
Bollinger make the heaviest and most full-bodied champagnes of any house, and their wines always have a smoky and hazelnuty complexity that is very hard to beat. The new PN, La Grande Année and R.D are among the very best, but it is clear that the rare and fantastic Vieilles Vignes Françaises, made with grapes from non-grafted Pinot vines, can reach even greater heights. All wines highly recommended.
‘One of the few perfect champagne houses and a beautiful gift to mankind.’