2002 RD Brut
|Grapes||Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay|
Tasted at Bollinger in March 2014 just before the official first release - this was a real treat. Fresh, driven and powerfully mineral - tasting young, despite its fabulous age this will no doubt settle down in 6 months or so to be a wonderful, intense yet balanced Champagne. So many layers of flavour are just bursting to unleash themselves and the evolution of this magnificent vintage is clear to see. Having tasted older vintages of this I was expecting a more savoury, 'mushroomy' character but was pleasantly surprised by the bright fruit and lovely notes of uncooked brioche dough. Very special stuff. L&S (Mar 2014)
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Jacques Bollinger, who was born at Ellwanger in the Kingdom of Wurtemberg, came to Champagne in 1822. In 1829, together with Hennequin de Villermont and Paul Levieux Renaudin, he founded the Champagne House of Bollinger Renaudin at Ay. The Bollinger family have managed the House ever since. Despite Paul Renaudin dying without issue, his name remained on the label until the 1960's. Pehaps the most famous member of the Bollinger family was "Lilly" Bollinger who married Jacques' great grandson and took over the Company when he died in 1941. She is responsible for the famous quote "I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty" Except in the very best vintages, only the first pressings are used (the rest being sold off) and Bollinger still carry out first fermentations in oak. Bollinger own around 160ha of vineyard which account for about 60% of their requirements. They are planted to about 60% Pinot Noir.
A fine example of power married to elegance, this is impeccably balanced, with a mouth-watering palate of crème de cassis, toasted brioche, fleur de sel and crystalized honey flavors. The rich, smoky underpinning is carried on a finely detailed bead. Disgorged March 2014. Drinking range: 2014 - 2030 Rating: 97 The Wine Spectator, www.winespectator.com (May 2017)
Bollinger's 2002 R.D. is striking in its beauty. Silky and caressing on the palate, the 2002 impresses for its exceptional balance and harmony. In 2002 so many Champagnes are ripe and explosive in style, but the 2002 R.D. is quite restrained by comparison. Hints of apricot pit, smoke, almonds, spices and pears ring out on the super-finessed, inviting finish. The 2002 is going to be nearly impossible to resist in its youth, but it should also age impeccably. All the elements are in the right place. Dosage is 3-4 grams per liter. Rating: 96 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (May 2017)
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. 23 crus of which 71% are Grands Crus and the rest Premiers Crus. Dosage under 4 g/l. Very firm, savoury nose with Bollinger's trademark fungi. Very powerfully so but with excellent acidity and lift on the palate. This is touted as a 50th anniversary offering because the first RD (Recently Disgorged) vintage released on the UK market was the 1952, in 1967 (so it was three years older than this 2002). It was launched at the same time as the 1953 on the French and Swiss markets and the 1955 on the American and Italian markets. A nod to British taste for seriously mature champagne? This wine should not be served too cool. It has real weight - though does not taste heavy. I loved it on first release as Grande Année and it is less austere now. A bit mellower and more open though still with the deep throat salve sensation on the finish. Drink 2014 - 2030 Drinking range: 2014 - 2030 Rating: 19 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com (May 2017)
Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose - plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there's a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavours give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavours, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. Rating: 99 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (May 2017)
The RD is revolutionary, and this wine is back on form, from a great vintage that is showing really well. Disgorged in 2015, it shows lovely development: rich but not heavy. with very elegant, complex herbal tea and truffle notes. I'd serve charcuterie-filled tortellini with truffle shavings and olive oil. Drinking range: 2016 - 2030 Gerard Basset OBE MW MS, Decanter (Oct 2016)
(“R.D.” stands for recently disgorged; this starts as a Grand Année and is allowed to mature for an extra 8 to 20 years, sometimes more, though in the case of the 2002 it was disgorged in October 2013; 60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay, SRP $375). There is a trace of reduction present though it’s not so much as to mask the elegant and really lovely brioche, citrus and green apple nuances. There is a notably refined bead to the mousse that is dense yet not aggressive allowing the beautifully delineated yet subtly shaded flavors to shine before culminating in a beautifully long, complex and classy finish. As the RD almost always is this is full-flavored yet it arguably drinks like a blanc de blanc because of its purity and subtlety. In a word this is gorgeous and while it could be drunk now I would advise continuing to hold it for another 4 to 7 years first. 2020+ Rating: 94 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com (Jan 2015)
A closed, grassy nose at first but underneath there's a restrained beautiful sophistication and youthful charm. Distinct but faint RD tones towards mushroom, truffle and mineral saltiness. Slowly blooming in the glass and not unlike a young RD 1975, so at some point this wine will breather sweetest chocolate and nut symphony. (One of Juhlin's top 20 prestige Champagnes.) Drinking range: 2016 - 2018 Rating: 94-94 Decanter Magazine (Oct 2014)
2002 is the fiftieth anniversary of Bollinger’s staggering tour de force R.D. The bottle that I tasted was disgorged on 19 Sept 2013 (very much in keeping with its mantra of Récemment Dégorgé or Recently Disgorged). The freshness versus development axis of R.D. is what Bollinger strives for in every release of this monumental wine. In 2002 R.D. achieves this balance like no other vintage that I have ever tasted. When Lily Bollinger decided to release an older vintage, disgorged late rather than a current release préstige cuvée, like all of the other Houses, she created her own unique style of Champagne. R.D. is, of course, copied today but it is never bettered. Bollinger is, to my mind, defined by its beloved R.D. and it is this wine that fires my passions for this exemplary House and accordingly why I am such an unwavering disciple. The 2002 vintage is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Of the 23 Crus used to assemble this cuvée 71% of them are Grand Cru. It is also important to mention that the dosage in R.D. is always kept purposefully low (3-4 g/L or residual sugar) – this gives it epic focus and tension. I attacked this wine in two distinctly different ways. Firstly, without food and secondly with roast chicken and chips – the benchmark gastronomic foil for ultra-high spec Champagne. The nose is nothing short of awesome. It shows remarkable restraint and focus in spite of its exotic florals, warm brioche and faint canelé notes, all straining to be let loose (this will happen with age). There is an impeccably clean and sleek chassis here, very long, tubular and with great density of flavour. It travels across the tongue like a powder-coated titanium lozenge rather than a broader, antique, galleon of years gone by. The finish brings the senses back to familiar R.D. territory with a whoosh of bitter orange and honey. While this lithe, muscular wine seems to be lighter than past vintages it isn’t. It is an illusion. 2002 R.D. is fit to burst with nervous energy. This is, in effect, the ultimate ‘catapult wine’. Bollinger pulls the rope back during the aging process and then releases the payload, hurling the flavour forward on release. All too often préstige cuvée Champagnes are slack and lacking in momentum. 2002 R.D. is going somewhere fast. All you have to do is flick the catch. Later on, when I drank it with chicken and chips, the flavour responded immediately and brought it alive with terrific vivacity and increased horse power. There is a power to weight ratio in this vinous work of art that no other white wines on the planet can match. As the wine opened up, layers and layers of fruit emerged, swathed in musky scent and wild honey. This is a classic R.D. with a remarkably reined-in introduction and a rip-roaring final handshake. Rating: 19.5/20 Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Oct 2014)
Blend of the 2002 vintage - 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. Very low dosage: "Extra Brut"", just 3 to 4 grams of sugar per litre. From vines in 23 different crus: 71% Grands crus, 29% Premiers crus. Only the very best among vintage champagnes become Bollinger R.D.: 2002 is definitely one of the most promising vintages of the last decade. Winemaker's notes (Mar 2014)
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