Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2006
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.
The wine is thought to be the eternal soul of Champagne. It is produced from the only two pre-phylloxera vineyards in the region, Chaudes Terres and Clos St Jacques, in Aÿ. These Grands crus plots are 100% ungrafted Pinot Noir. The vines are grown the traditional way, following the “provinage” method, worked by hand and even sometimes with the help of a cart-horse.
Made in the traditional way. This wine ages on the lees for 5-6 years, more than twice the time required by the appellation. It has moderate dosage of 4 g/l.
At Bollinger, only very high quality harvests become a vintage. The 2006 vintage was an exceptional year in Champagne, producing expressive and supple wines. A hot start to summer caused concern for maturation, but warm and bright conditions at the start of September helped ensure the full impact of the fruit. The parcels of Vieilles Vignes Françaises were harvested on September 14. In total, there were 3,000 numbered bottles produced for the world.
This wine is a true gift to experience. Very intense, characteristic of a mature vintage. There is a perfume of quince, honey, dried apricots and candied fruit flavors that invite us in. Tertiary aromas of grilled, toasted bread are balanced by a round, creamy mouthfeel with an effervescence that melts into the wine. A saline, mineral finish offers incredible length with exceptional richness and maturity.
The 2006 can be enjoyed with any beautiful dish, but can also be savored on its own. Collectors will share it thoughtfully in order to experience its unmatched flavors in the company of others – so in those cases, we recommend white caviar and Alba truffle to complement the wine.
The two remaining pre-phylloxera plots used for this wine are grown the traditional way, following the “provinage” method, worked by hand and even sometimes with the help of a cart-horse.
Suggested Retail Price
Decanter - “The legendary product of two tiny plots of ungrafted, untrellised Pinot Noir in Aÿ, this is a cuvée of profound concentration and ripeness. In sheer persistence it takes Champagne to a higher plateau, with red Burgundy-like expansiveness and a flourish of theatrical proportions. Yet for all its flamboyance it has been expertly controlled, a revelation of line and length, enduring into tomorrow. Profound and strong, yet ever so fit.”
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