SevenFifty published an extremely interesting piece the delves into the ungrafted vines, “The Impact of Own-Rooted Vines on Wines.” Within the piece, winemakers discuss the interest and benefits of these rare vines, elaborating on a range of topics from terroir transmission to flavor expression. Of course, our favorite part of the piece highlights Champagne Bollinger’s Vieilles Vignes Francaises, arguable the most collectible and rare champagnes on the market. Chef de Cave Denis Buner explains the history of the vineyards, which are the only two remaining pre-phylloxera vineyard plots in the entire region. Buner explains that the ungrafted wines are the main contributor of what makes the wine’s profile so unique, adding “That is the magic of Vieilles Vignes Françaises—because all the [other] Champagne has been grafted.” Bunner also mentioned that the ungrafted Pinot Noir vines provide a varietal intensity he has not found elsewhere. More than that, the two vineyard plots at Bollinger, Clos des Chaudes Terres and Clos Saint-Jacques, represent the historical terroir of Champagne. “We are very proud of Vignes Françaises because this is the real taste of Pinot Noir as it was at the foundation of Bollinger. We use the same viticultural method, the same vinification method. Nothing has changed,” says Buner. There are several other interesting insights to read about Bollinger and the wineries included, which can be found here
Vieilles Vignes Françaises is one of Champagne’s most mythical cuvees, produced from miraculously preserved and ungrafted 100% Pinot Noir vines. Phylloxera destroyed the vines of Champagne in the early 20th century, but amazingly enough two of Bollinger’s classified Grands crus plots, Chaudes Terres and Clos St. Jacques, survived and are still grown the traditional way. Madame Lily Bollinger first had this wine produced in 1969 as an anniversary cuvee to commemorate her 70th birthday. Following the wine’s launch in 1974, Vieilles Vignes Françaises promptly became a collectible and a symbol of a bygone era. Over the decades, its uniqueness and scarcity have made it one of the most sought-after and expensive Champagnes.
Bollinger is one of the rare Grande Marques that’s still family owned. Known for its rich, elegant and polished style of Champagne, their outstanding wines are the result of rigorous attention to detail and incredibly labor-intensive practices that few houses are willing to undertake. Underscoring its excellence, Bollinger has remained British secret agent James Bond's Champagne of choice since 1973.