PN VZ15 Brut
The winner of a blind tasting contest between the winemaking team was built primarily on Verzenay (hence VZ), with support from Aÿ, Bouzy and Tauxières, 50% barrel fermented, based on the 2015 vintage (hence 15) with 20% reserves from vintages back to 2009, aged in magnums. Its unique black bottle and black label are a tribute to the black grape, and a nod to its big brother, Vieilles Vignes Françaises. In each successive vintage a different village will be chosen by blind tasting. Production volume is roughly equivalent to La Grande Année. Global release in September 2020 at a price between Special Cuvée and La Grande Année (~100€). A bright new star has arisen from deep within the pinot noir firmament. The first new permanent addition to the hallowed portfolio of Bollinger in 12 years is a monumental blanc de noirs that encapsulates the generosity of the house within its ever more detailed regime. Departing its home on the southern slopes of the Montagne de Reims, it has tactically jumped over the hill to the cooler northern aspect of the fabled grand cru of Verzenay in the warm 2015 vintage, yet very much retaining the beloved DNA of the house. The result is a deeply spicy and exuberant expression of this elegant terroir, abounding in mixed spice, anise and cardamom and deep, luscious strokes of blackberries and bright red cherries. There are subtle flitters of fruit mince spice and orange rind along for this dynamic ride. Bollinger’s characteristic old barrel fermentation builds depth of creamy texture and signature layers of complexity. The brightness of the great slopes of Verzenay shines through, even in the warm 2015 season, charged with wonderfully ripe yet vibrant acidity and omnipresent chalk minerality of glittering, crystalline energy. The phenolic structure inherent to this season is neatly and masterfully woven into its folds. It’s emphatically Bollinger, definitively Verzenay, exactingly pinot noir and characteristically 2015 – a wonderful yet difficult balance to achieve. A triumph for the season, and downright delicious. Rating: 97 Tyson Stelzer - TysonStelzer.com (Dec 2020)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
(100% pinot noir, with 50% based on the 2015 vintage from fruit sourced primarily in Verzenay; disgorged Nov 2019, dosage 7 g/l, 12%). An expressive nose of ripe and decidedly yeasty raspberry and cherry hints introduces utterly delicious, complex, rich and enveloping middle weight flavors that pack excellent flavor authority into a notably generous palate impression while offering excellent depth and persistence on the moderately dry finale. The effervescence isn’t especially fine though it is in keeping with the relatively bold style that will allow this to be enjoyed now or held for up to another decade. Excellent. Drinking range: 2023 - Rating: 94 Allen Meadows, www.Burghound.com(Oct 2020)
A fabulous Champagne, the NV PN VZ 15 is a new wine from Bollinger and the first addition to the range in over a decade. As the name implies, it is a 100% Pinot Noir built on a core of fruit from Verzenay and based on the 2015 vintage. Bollinger’s most iconic wine is of course the super-rare and expensive 100% Pinot Noir Vielles Vignes Françaises. A few years ago, Bollinger set out on a path to exalt the unique characteristics of their Pinot. For this project, the four leads of the winemaking team headed by Cellar Master Gilles Descôtes and Deputy Cellar Master Denis Bunner were tasked with each creating a new cuvée. The conditions: the wine had to be non-vintage, 100% Pinot Noir and possible to offer at both an affordable price and with some scale. The four wines were tasted blind and the winner is the new PN VZ 15, the first in a series of upcoming releases that will explore the many shades of Pinot at Bollinger. I tasted it recently with Bunner and General Manager Charles-Armand de Belenet and was super impressed.
Bright and vibrant on the palate, the PN VZ 15 captures all of the Pinot richness that is such a Bollinger signature but with the freshness and verve that make Pinots from Verzenay so distinctive. Rich red fruit, mint, dried flower and spice notes play off bright acids and veins of saline-drenched minerals in a display of aromas, flavors and textures that dazzle all the senses. Think of it as a baby VVF, but with the tension of Verzenay. The blend is approximately 50% Verzenay and 50% Aÿ, Bouzy and Louvois, done about half in steel and half in oak. This release is based on the 2015 vintage (50% of the blend), with reserve wines that go back to 2009, including 20% from the reserve magnums Bollinger is so famous for. This bottle was disgorged in November 2019 and dosage is 7 grams per liter, about average for Bollinger today.
As I have written before, many of Champagne’s big houses have embraced the ambitious spirit of grower Champagne with their recent bottlings, wines that often place more emphasis on variety and place than the flagship blended cuvées that are the core of what Champagne has represented in the past. This is yet another example. The new PN VZ 15 is superb, and sharply priced as well, something that is not often the case with new grande marque Champagnes these days. Don’t miss it. Drinking range: 2020 - 2030 Rating: 94 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com(Aug 2020)
To the eye: Delicate, with gold glints. To the nose: The wine opens with aromas of cherry stone, jam-infused fruit and dried fig. The rich, complex nose then develops towards toasted, baked notes, as well as aromas of elderflower and pear. On the palate: The generous fruit is combined with mouth-watering vivacity and releases peach and apricot flavours in the mouth, enhanced with hazelnut and acacia blossom notes. It finishes with a wonderful lively aromatic note reminiscent of yuzu.Winemaker's notes(Jul 2020)
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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