Champagne NV Special Cuvee
Type Sparkling Vintage Region Champagne Producer Bollinger Wine Advocate 91 Wine Spectator 94 Available: 9
Grapes blend: 60% Pinot nero, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier
Special Cuvée is a different Champagne, the landmark for Maison Bollinger. The grapes come almost entirely from the harvest of the year, plus about 10% of reserve wines, which can reach up to fifteen years of aging. The base wines come to about 85% from vineyards classified as Grand Cru or Premier Cru and vinification is made only with the first pressing of the grapes (2050 liters per 4000 kg of grapes, the second pressing, called "première taille" is sold to other wineries). The wines are fermented in oak and left to mature on the lees for at least three years.
At the nose is very rich: sponge cake, lemon, pineapple, peanuts, light spice and toasted. In the mouth it is dry but not sharp, fresher than sapid, full without being opulent: the power of pinot noir is well controlled by the body and by the assembly with the other grapes varieties.
A rich, smoky Champagne, with hints of marzipan and fennel seed accenting honeyed mal, bread dough, baked apple and gingersnap flavors. It's all focused by intense acidity, which meshes beautifully into the layers of flavor and refined texture, with a lingering finish. - Wine Spectator
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!"