Bollinger is a truly classic Champagne house and one of the world’s greatest wine producers, renowned for wines that epitomize Champagne’s unparalleled reputation for elegance and refinement.
Founded in 1829 in the village of Ay, by 1884 Bollinger had received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. Adding to its prestige, 1979 marked the beginning of one of the longest standing relationships in cinematic history; Bollinger has been the exclusive Champagne of James Bond ever since. From 1941 – 1971 the great house was brilliantly managed by the indomitable Elisabeth Bollinger, who famously made one of the greatest pronouncements ever made about Champagne:
“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I am alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”
Bollinger is resolutely old-fashioned, producing classic pinot-dominated wines that age magnificently. The majority (70%) of fruit is from estate vineyards and 85% comes from Grand Cru and Premier Cru Vineyards. About 20-30% of the wine is barrel-fermented for non-vintage releases, and 100% is barrel-fermented for vintage wines. As any visitor to the cellars will attest: the spectacle of hundreds of age-blackened barrels is unforgettable. ‘Age’ is an important aspect of the Bollinger mystique. The blended wines contain an unusually high percentage of reserve wine; RD (‘Recemment Degorge'), the definitive Bollinger wine, is aged from 8 – 20 or more years on the lees; Vieilles Vignes Francaises is an utterly unique rarity produced from vestigial ungrafted vines.
Bollinger Special Cuvee perfectly exemplifies the house style: richness, depth, and power. It is composed of 60% pinot noir, 25% chardonnay, and 15% pinot meunier. Crucially the blend includes up to 50% reserve wines, which may be up to 15 years old. This provides the Hallmark ‘toastiness’ of Bollinger, yet the house style demands that the wine always combines freshness of character with maturity of flavour. The wine is complex, structured, and capable of considerable age.