Under the direction of Chef de Caves Gilles Descôtes, Bollinger produces one of the most consistent lineups in Champagne.
Bollinger is one of the handful of larger firms that manages to put out consistently high quality wines despite its size.
This estate based in Ay is probably best known to the public through its long association with the James Bond films, which is quite possibly one of the most successful product placement campaigns of all time. Despite the show biz glamor that has inextricably become part of the Bollinger mystique, at their best these are serious wines with significant aging potential.
Bollinger is one of the few houses to make wine solely from grapes sourced from the Marne, in the heart of the Champagne region. Eighty-five percent of its grapes come from premier and grand-cru vineyards, with Bollinger itself owning 164 hectares of vines.
The company has heavily invested in studies of pinot noir to find the clone most suited to its vineyards. For now, it has settled on clone 386 (aka pinot moret). It is Bollinger's use of a majority of pinot noir that gives its wines their more masculine character.
The low-dosage R.D. (recently-disgorged) series can be tremendous, and the Vielles Vignes Francaises, made from pre-phylloxera Pinot Noir vines, is one of Champagne's most exotic bottlings. The estate favors neutral oak barrels for the aging of its top wines. One of the most unique aspects of this estate is that the reserve wines are aged in magnum, rather than in tank, which is the prevailing custom in the region.
Bollinger is often said to be the gentleman’s Champagne: elegant, reserved, perfectly harmonious, with a great backbone.
The main Champagne produced by Bollinger is the extremely rare Vieilles Vignes Francaises. Of course, such rarity comes at a cost. The Wine Advocate suggested the price meant it is "a once in a lifetime treat for most mortals!"