2008 Grande Année Brut Champagne Bollinger


This is a regal and heroic Bollinger characterized by restrained power and energetic energy. I love meeting this untouched force and carefully analysing its sublime elements, but at the same time I have to admit that we are dealing with a real "vin de garde" that will not reach its maximum capacity before its 25th birthday. The structure is impressive, based of course on the high acidity of the vintage in the first place. This very high acid means that the other building blocks can appear as subordinate, but they have a great wealth of both oak embossed secondary aromas and flaunted dark fruit. At present, the aromatic spectrum is characterized by fresh hazelnuts from Piedmont, green apples, critical minerals and perfumed orange blossoms. Buy a box and follow its aromatic journey to heaven. Rating: 98 Richard Juhlin(Mar 2019)

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75cl bottles (case of 6)

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Trying the much anticipated 2008 vintage of Bollinger Grande Année on a sunny spring morning with Export Director Karl Reuter was nothing short of exquisite. The Champagne, in its new “1846” bottle, has been aged for more than twice the time required by the appellation and this has certainly been time well spent. There is an inviting golden hue to the wine which points towards the extensive bottle ageing already received. The freshness of the vintage is immediately apparent on the nose - spiced apple along with delicate notes of peach, almond and honeysuckle jump from the glass. The first sip reveals invigorating energy that wakes up the taste buds - it is generous but bracing at the same time. The structure is remarkable suggesting this has a long road ahead of it. Toffee apple, green orchard fruit, nuts, spice and honey are framed by a steely mineral frame. You can certainly drink this now but, with time in the cellar, I have no doubt it will mature wonderfully. Drinking range: 2021 - 2035L&S(Mar 2019)

Enticing hints of toasted cumin, ground anise and graphite waft from the glass of this harmonious, mouthwatering version, accenting the finely meshed flavors of crushed black currant, poached apricot, grilled nut and lemon curd. The texture shows a lovely viscosity, extending the flavor range on the lasting finish. Drink now through 2033. From France.—A.N. Senior editor Alison Napjus says: “This marries Bollinger’s signature richness with the 2008 vintage’s luxurious textural character and steely backbone of acidity. Though the house does not adhere to a strict release schedule, chef de cave Gilles Descôtes, who started at Bollinger as vineyard manager in 2003 before his promotion to head winemaker in 2013, decided to hold the 2008 Grande Année. The cuvée is typically aged seven to nine years before release, depending on the vintage’s character. Descôtes said the 2008’s ‘impressive freshness’ is what made him wait a full 11 years before launching this classic Pinot Noir–dominant blend.” Drinking range: 2019 - 2033 Rating: 96 Alison Napjus, The Wine Spectator(Oct 2019)

Bollinger's 2008 Grande Année is rich, ample and full-bodied, with all of the pedigree of the vintage on display. Dried pear, dried flowers, chamomile, red plum and mint develop as the 2008 shows the breadth and creaminess that are such signatures of the Bollinger house style. A whole range of brighter, more floral and chalky notes appear later, adding translucence and energy. The 2008 is 71% Pinot Noir and 29% Chardonnay taken across 18 crus, and it is the Pinot that very much informs the wine in both flavor and texture. More importantly, the 2008 is one of the best Grande Années I can remember tasting. Bollinger fans won't want to miss it. Rating: 97 Antonio Galloni, 2019)

Dense nose with some of the really dry Bollinger savour on the palate. This is a wine, like so many Bollingers, that really needs time in the glass to open out – and indeed time in the bottle to develop to its full potential. This is an extremely dry-tasting wine, even though the dosage was 8 g/l, higher than usual because of the extremely low pH, 2.92. Very Bollinger but, for the moment, by no means a charmer. Initially (and in the blind tasting on 29 March 2019) I thought the wine lacked a bit of persistence, but in fact it is a particularly slow burner and developed a sort of peacock's tail effect long after swallowing. This encourages me to think it will eventually be a fine wine but I would cellar it for quite a while. At the London launch at The Ledbury, we were given a chance to taste the wine from bottle, then magnum, then jeroboam with successive courses, the two bigger formats having been disgorged in November 2018. Each time the wine seemed ever crisper and tauter, with the magnum sample (perhaps poured from a just-opened magnum?) so powerfully fumy that it had a whiff of cordite. As chef de cave Gilles Descôtes observed, if he'd been served the jeroboam blind, he might have taken the wine for a Blanc de Blancs... Drinking range: 2020 - 2035 Rating: 17.5++ Jancis Robinson OBE MW - 2019)

Bollinger's 2008 La Grande Année is superb, wafting from the glass with aromas of crisp orchard fruit, ripe lemons, honeycomb, warm biscuits, dried white flowers and a delicate top note of walnuts and fino sherry. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a beautifully refined mousse, superb concentration at the tightly wound core, incisive acids and a supremely elegant intermingling of Bollinger's oxidative stylistic signatures with fresh, vibrant fruit. The finish is long, precise and chalky. This is a Grande Année built for the cellar—the real excitement will come with a bit more bottle age—but this is already a thrilling Champagne in the making. Finished with eight grams per liter dosage, it was disgorged by hand in July 2018. This is also the first vintage of Grande Année to be bottled in Bollinger's new narrower-necked 1846 bottle, which should make for a slower evolving wine. Drinking range: 2022 - 2060 Rating: 97+ William Kelley, The Wine Advocate(Mar 2019)

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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