Champagne Bollinger

La Grande Année 2014

Champagne, France

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Bollinger’s prestige  cuvée is the vintage-dated La Grande Année, made of roughly two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. It is produced only when the harvest reaches a perfect balance. This wine ferments entirely in oak barrels, and undergoes its second fermentation under cork instead of crown capsules. It’s filled with aromas of honey, gingerbread and cinnamon, and offers a core of pastry and candied orange flavors on the palate.

In 1976, Bollinger Vintage became Grande Année; then, in 1997, “La” Grande Année, a name simple enough to illustrate its exceptional status. This prestige cuvée made its silver screen debut two years later, in James Bond’s Casino Royale.

 

 

Vineyard

78% of the fruit was sourced from Grand Cru villages and 22% from Premier Cru villages. The Pinot Noir, 61% of the blend, comes predominantly from Äy and Verzenay, and the Chardonnay, 39% of the blend, from Chouilly and Oiry.
Additionally, Bollinger was accredited with a “High Environmental Value” certification in 2012 (more here).

Winemaking

La Grande Année is vinified entirely in older oak barrels, specifically used 228 liter barrels and 400 liter casks that are up to 40 years old. The wine remains in barrel for 6 months, undergoing both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel, a point of distinction from the minute remaining producers who do ferment in barrel. The wine is then bottled under cork to undergo its secondary fermentation, rather than crown capsule. As a result, every bottle has to be hand-riddled and hand-disgorged. The wine spent about 7 years on the lees, and has a moderate dosage of 8 grams per liter. Needless to say, this is not an efficient way to produce Champagne. Quality is the only objective.

Vintage

2014 marked an exceptional year: After the sunniest June in 50 years,
which resulted in a fairly early flowering, the months of July and August in particular were the coldest for almost 50 years. The two largest Bollinger vineyards –Aÿ et Verzenay –began harvesting five days after the official opening dates. All Bollinger vineyards began harvesting on the same day, the 15th of September (5 days later than the official date), resulting in the harvest being very grouped up and completed in just nine days (usually this takes two weeks). The quality of the grape was definitely there; the acidity was preserved by the cold summer, and parasites were kept at bay by a bright September, which allowed a beautiful maturity. There was a great balance achieved between maturity and acidity in the grape musts.

Tasting Note

A precise and fruity nose with a slight scent of sea-air. Aromas of cherry and lemon mingle with quince and bergamot. Then notes of hazelnut and almond, peach and mirabelle plum complete this wine’s range of aromas. The initial sensation is a fine and intense effervescence, followed by a wonderful vinosity, and then balanced with delicate acidity. It’s very fine texture and sea-air finish bring excellent length on the palate, accompanied by a delicate minerality and the complex flavors of orchard fruit and citrus.

Food Pairing

La Grande Année 2014 is the perfect Champagne to serve with a fine meal, underscoring Bollinger’s reputation as the ultimate food pairing Champagne. The Champagne shines when enjoyed with scallops paired with sorrel and vanilla or grilled oysters with smoked butter and sea purslane. Classic French hen of the woods mushroom, potato emulsion and truffles will do just fine. It can stand up to heartier fish and roasted meats as well.

UPC

864576000174

Color

White

Grape Varieties

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Appellation

Champagne, France

Farming

Sustainable farming practices include biological pest control, reducing the use of herbicides, recycling pruning waste and planting hedges/orchards to encourage biodiversity.

Alcohol

12.0%

Suggested Retail Price

$230.00

Reviews

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Trade Materials

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