La Grande Année 2007
Bollinger’s prestige cuvée is the vintage-dated La Grande Année, made of roughly two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. It is produced only when the harvest reaches a perfect balance. This wine ferments entirely in oak barrels, and undergoes its second fermentation under cork instead of crown capsule. It’s filled with aromas of honey, gingerbread and cinnamon, and offers a core of pastry and candied orange flavors on the palate.
In 1976, Bollinger Vintage became Grande Année; then, in 1997, “La” Grande Année, a name simple enough to illustrate its exceptional status. This prestige cuvée made its silver screen debut two years later, in James Bond’s Casino Royale.
91% of the fruit was sourced from Grand Cru villages and 9% from Premier Cru villages. The Pinot Noir, 70% of the blend, comes predominantly from Äy and Verzenay, and the Chardonnay, 30% of the blend, from Avize, Chouilly and Mesnil-sur-Oger.
Bollinger has been the first Champagne House to achieve the certification of “Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne,” a new set of standards established by the Champagne governing body to encourage stronger viticulture practices (more here). Bollinger in 2012 in addition was accredited with “High Environmental Value” certification in 2012 (more here).
La Grande Année is vinified entirely in older oak barrels, specifically used 228 liter barrels and 400 liter casks that are up to 40 years old. The wine remains in barrel for 6 months, undergoing both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel, a point of distinction from the minute remaining producers who do ferment in barrel. The wine is then bottled under cork to undergo its secondary fermentation, rather than crown capsule. As a result, every bottle has to be hand-riddled and hand-disgorged. The wine spent over 6 years on the lees, and has a moderate dosage of 7 grams per liter. Needless to say, this is not an efficient way to produce Champagne. Quality is the only objective.
At Bollinger, only very high quality harvests become a vintage: The year 2007 was an exceptional one, revealing a very refreshing Champagne that brings out the full impact of the fruit. The 2007 vintage has a slightly higher amount of Pinot Noir (70% versus ~65% typically) than usual, with Chardonnay rounding out the rest of the blend (30%). This vintage has yielded a wine with a great aromatic ripeness.
The nose starts off with a first impression of fresh almonds, then yellow-flesh fruit aromas evoking peach and mango; toasted, roasted notes accompanied with dried citrus and pink grapefruit. There is a lovely aromatic fullness with honey flavors and a smooth chalky texture on the palate, followed by candied lemon notes and a delicious bitterness, ending on a wonderfully refreshing finish.
La Grande Année 2007 is the perfect Champagne to serve with a fine meal, underscoring Bollinger’s reputation as the ultimate food pairing Champagne. The Champagne shines when enjoyed with grilled fish and lobster; it can stand up to a freshly roasted lamb or veal, as well. And a classic French foie gras will do just fine, thank you. A simple, yet divine enhancement is with fresh Parmesan or Comté.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Champagne Bollinger supports sustainable wine growing by grassing over the ground, using biological pest control, reducing the use of herbicides, recycling pruning waste, and planting hedges and orchards to encourage biodiversity. The Côte aux Enfants vineyard is managed organically.
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Wine & Spirits - "While this wine seemed fully mature when we tasted it last year, the latest bottle to come across our tasting table was full of life, feeling concentrated and radiating energy out of its core. There’s a compressed floral spice and a touch of sweetness to the fruit that accommodates the mineral abrasion, the elements completely integrated, the flavors lasting for minutes. The blend is 70 percent pinot noir, mostly from Aÿ and Verzenay, with chardonnay from Cramant and Oger; 91 percent grows at grand-cru sites; all of it ferments in oak barrels. The wood is still present in the wine, rounding it, contributing to its sophistication. An exceptional 2007."
James Suckling - "Super attractive lemon essence and lime pickle on the nose, with toasty warmth and some bright, almost tropical fruits. The palate has a very open and appealing feel. Deep flavors are delivered in a generous sweeping texture, with toasty rise at the finish. Drink young."
Wine Advocate - “Bollinger’s white-golden colored 2007 La Grande Année Brut is an assemblage of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from 14 crus (mainly Aÿ and Verzenay for the Pinot Noir and Avize, Cramant and Oger for the Chardonnay) that was entirely fermented in barrels and aged under natural cork for more than eight years (disgorgement date: November 2016). The wine displays a very clear, fine and complex bouquet of ripe (apricot) fruits and pink grapefruit along with chalky, toasty and almond/nougat notes. Highly elegant, fine and pure but complex on the palate, this is a full-bodied and well-structured Grande Année with a long, intense yet dry, salty, beautifully clear and cleansing finish with lingering citrus flavors and a persistent mineral structure. This 2007 is still young, but its elegance, finesse, freshness and promising complexity are fabulous.”
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