- Region: Champagne
- Vintage: 2007
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2019 - 2037
30th Apr 2019
Issue 242 End of April 2019, The Wine Advocate
From a bottle disgorged in March 2017, Bollinger's 2007 La Grande Année is showing brilliantly, offering up a superb bouquet of lemon oil, confit citrus, almond paste, iodine, walnut oil and freshly baked bread. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, broad-shouldered and powerful in this frequently rather slender vintage, with excellent concentration, a deep and tightly wound core and a precise, chalky finish.
There are plenty of projects afoot at Bollinger, as chef des caves Gilles Descotes explained to me during my early April visit—my first in some years to this important Aÿ-based domaine. One of the most important changes is that Bollinger has entirely abandoned the use of herbicides for four years now, an initiative that began with the impulse to rehabilitate their famed red wine monopole, La Côte aux Enfants, and which was gradually rolled out across all their holdings. Their facilities have expanded too, to make space for more barrels to insure a sufficiently abundant supply of wood-fermented base wine from the Special Cuvée in years when Grande Année is also produced. And the still red Coteaux Champennois from La Côte aux Enfants is returning to the range, from 2015 vinified separately from the red wines destined to rosé production, with some whole clusters added to the cuves. Descotes also has been working to better manage Bollinger's gently oxidative style, and while fermentation and maturation in old wood still lends Bollinger its strong and distinctive style, oxygen inputs at other stages in the winemaking process are more carefully controlled, resulting in more consistency and structural tension—a trend exemplified by the brilliant 2008 Grande Année (97+), which I reviewed last month. There's so much more to say about this house, but much of that can wait for an in-depth article in a future issue. For the time being, it's sufficient to note that all these recent releases come warmly recommended.