Premiere – 2015 Bollinger ‘La Grande Année’

Richard Juhlin

Richard Juhlin

Premiere – A new vintage of the legend 2015 Bollinger ‘La Grande Année’ and 2015 Bollinger ‘La Grande Année Rosé’ from Bollinger. Read Richard Juhlins review & tasting note. [read the full champagne story] 

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

2015 Bollinger ’La Grande Année’                  

60pn 40ch

Tasting note Champagne Club by Richard Juhlin; ‘Oops, is it already time for another vintage of this gem? Amazing how fast time goes. 2015 is generally a problematic vintage with heat stress and a period of drought. It is no art to get richness and power in the wines, but elegance and freshness are rare. Because Bollinger’s house style is inherently so masculinely powerful, Bollinger’s eminent team focused on preserving freshness first and foremost.

According to Denis Bunner, Bollinger felt that the grapes they had access to gave more typicity and greater elegance to the Chardonnay this time. Hence a slightly higher content of the green grape than in the original recipe. Perhaps even more important was the choice of Avize and Verzenay as engines. Verzenay behaves in many ways like Chardonnay with its chalky elegance and great purity. This time the shares of Aÿ and Verzenay were equal for the unusual part.

Fat Cramant and Oger were now downplayed and Avize was primarily supported by tight Chouilly. An interesting detail that reduces tannin, clumsiness and contributes to an increased sense of freshness is, oddly enough, oak barrels. This is due to its great age and the company’s strict selection of the best casks that only provide microoxidation.

The color is already deep golden with a fine stream of tiny bubbles fighting their way up through the glycerol-rich concentrated wine. Intense and rich and at the same time nuanced and complex. The small concentrated grapes ultimately produced an ultimate gastronomic masterpiece. The scent cannonade is classic Bollinger, but fresh and more nuanced than I expected from the vintage. Stone fruits, honeysuckle, honey, plum marmalade, Cox Orange, raspberry, almond, hazelnut, leather, tanned skin, cigar, and duck liver are all clear instruments in the orchestra playing their richly generous vintage anthem. The freshness does not come from acid this time, but from lack of water and concentrated extracts in a similar way as the even more extreme 2003. I finish I find tobacco, forest and chocolate with sea salt, a delicious combination. Precisely the saltiness and the slightly higher tannin content contribute to making this a perfect partner for poultry in all its forms.’


2015 Bollinger ’La Grande Année Rosé’   

62pn 38ch

Tasting note Champagne Club by Richard Juhlin ‘I am unfortunately convinced that I will never initially be quite as impressed by a newly launched La Grande Année Rosé as by its white sibling. It is always the case, and should remain so, that the added fantastic red wine has never fully fused and left room for the finest details of the white wine before 15 years of age.

Precisely the richness of nuance and the clarity of details are inevitably less here. However, the red wine from the heart of Aÿ has already given the champagne a wonderful texture and mellow Burgundian intensity. The color is beautiful with golden highlights in the salmon pink shape. Slightly lighter than before as the proportion of red wine from Côte aux Enfants is slightly lower than last time. Rich and lush fruity aroma of red apples, strawberries, orange and rhubarb with hints of red roses. Silky smooth and with a texture reminiscent of a top class Volnay. Here I also sense a piquant slightly smoky note coming in tow with the seductive fruit of strawberry and blood orange. If the white La Grande Année was gastronomically adapted, this rosé is actually even more food compatible. The Bresse chicken that Björnstierne and I cooked for the duo was a perfect match already now for this extremely storable stable rosé classic. Drink 2030–2040.’


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