2004 RD Brut Champagne Bollinger
|Grapes||Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier|
We were very privileged to be the first people to taste the new R.D. release outside Bollinger. It made for a very happy Tuesday morning! The nose was strikingly crisp with plenty of orange peel and pink grapefruit floating above the deep autolytic base that is always a hallmark of 'R.D'. As this opens out there is a pleasant note of candied peel, sweet spice and baked apple. On the palate you really feel the 13 years this has spent on its lees. It gives a lovely weight and softness that beautifully balances the lively acidity and low dosage. Overall, this is a more muscular wine than the 2002 and certainly more open at this early stage. You really can drink it now, though I wouldn't. I'd squirrel it away for at least five years when it will have really knitted together and developed yet more layers of beguiling complexity. L&S (Mar 2018)
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A superb moment for this late-disgorged vintage Champagne. All the complexity and fruit are here, in the right proportions, on the nose and palate. Grilled peaches, grapefruit, lemons, hazelnuts, espresso and more. Super long, majestic and so rewardingly complex. Drink now. Rating: 97 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Aug 2018)
The lovely nose of acacia blossom, toast and graphite leads to flavors of poached quince, fleur de sel, white cherry, lemon pith and almond skin in this dry and harmonious Champagne. Almost airy and ethereal in texture, yet the finely woven flavor range goes on and on, echoing on the finish. Disgorged June 2017. Drinking range: 2012 - 2034 Rating: 96-96 Alison Napjus, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2018)
Not surprisingly, everything about this wine is accentuated and demonstrative, visually, aromatically and also, crucially, in sheer flavour complexity terms on the stunning palate. With 3gm/L dosage, this is a thrillingly fresh wine. We tasted three different examples of dosage (0, 3 and 8 grams per litre of sugar) and it was clear that 3 was the most appropriate for this wine. The blend is 66% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay. The colour is very pale gold for an R.D. and given its age, this is a very important sign for the future. Harmonious on the nose and very refreshing and bright on the palate, this is a wine that will appeal to fans of R.D. and also those who might have previously have thought this wine style too imposing and powerful. It is the completeness of this wine which impresses me most. Bollinger is refining all of its wines, from days gone by where the wines could have been marked down for being too muscular and woody. ‘Bollinger-style’ has both very positive and some mildly negative connotations. Today, with the recent vintage releases the wines show true Bollinger style, but with augmented finesse and refinement. Drinking range: 2018 - 2040 Rating: 19+ Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com(Mar 2018)
One of my most exciting wine experiences was when I first tasted 1975 Bollinger RD with my parents at their home. During yesterday's Sunday afternoon, I served them the latest edition of 2004 blindly. The 82-year-old's reaction did not allow for a wait. Mom immediately exclaimed "the same wonderful scent of chocolate and apricot like when we drank Bollinger RD in the 80's". So right she was. When Bollinger decides to launch the newest vintage of RD, the wine must have its distinctive autolytic character of freshly baked bread, chocolate, hazelnut and mushroom. That is at least the thought. I would like to say that the last vintage in 2002 did not have these features at the launch at all, but instead relied on an almost grassy elegance and refined acid structure in an remaining youthful attire. With 2004 it is different. It's precisely like this Bollinger RD should taste from the beginning. Nobody can be disappointed here. Perhaps, 2004, is not one of the most heroic vintages but on the other hand one of the most classic. The very essence of the RD concept is to try to capture a wine's optimal maturity along with maximum freshness. Unfortunately, I do not think life expectancy is as good as in the La Grande Année version, but I may be wrong. The intensity of the mature layers of dark chocolate, tobacco, black truffles from Vaucluse and a melancholy hiking in the moist autumn forest is, at least, impressive. The mousse may struggle to reach the surface of the glycerol rich essence of wine. Nevertheless, it tingles of lust on the tongue when stringency, chalk and jingling pure acids dance over the finish line. Rating: 96 Richard Juhlin, Decanter, Champagne Guide(Mar 2018)
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.
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