Today we are pleased to release the newest vintage of Bollinger’s stunning La Grande Annee, the 2007. The 2007 vintage in Champagne experienced a warm spring and early flowering. This was followed by a cloudy summer and a warm September, producing a reasonable crop with above average acidity. The results have been excellent, La Grande Annee has been awarded 95 points from Richard Juhlin, which he calls ‘One of the three best champagnes from this vintage’.
La Grande Annee presents superb value on release, offered significantly lower than its closest peers. Cristal 2007 which Juhlin, awarded 94 points, trades at £585 per case of six, while La Grande Annee 2007 costs just £330 per case of six on release. In our opinion £55 per bottle for one of the worlds leading Champagne’s is unmissable quality vs price. We can also offer rare larger formats today, which are extremely collectable and worth consideration.
The 2007 is a stunning blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. A remarkable selection which features 91% from Grand Cru vineyards and the remainder from their leading 1er Cru vineyards. The Pinot Noir predominately comes from Ay and Verzenay and the Chardonnay from Avize, Cramant and Oger. No expense is spared: the grape-must is fully barrel fermented in four to five year old Burgundy barrels they source from the Burgundy house Chanson, which Bollinger acquired in 1999. La Grand Annee Blanc undergoes a moderate dosage (adding sugar after disgorgement) of seven to eight grams per litre, they age on their lees in the cellar for a minimum of seven years, all stored at low pressure in magnums, a rarity even amongst the leading Champagne houses; moreover, all vintages are riddled by hand and exceptional feat. In their quest for excellence they also rest the Champagne for three to six months after disgorgement and the wine is sealed with natural cork.
History of Bollinger
Bollinger is one of the last remaining independent Champagne houses, established in 1829 in Ay, by Jacques Bollinger, (the Mayor of Ay) and Paul Renaudin. The vineyards date back as far as 1585 when they were run by the Hennequins, one of the Bollinger founding families. Bollinger today is still owned by the original founder’s descendants and has never been relocated. The 164 hectares used to make the superb Bollinger wines are cited in the very best position, with Montagne de Reims to the North, the Marne Valley to the South and the Cote de Blancs opposite. Bollinger can also boast that 85% of all their vineyard holdings are Grand Cru or Premier Cru and 70% of their grapes come from the Estate’s own vineyards.
The Bollinger style was established based on a predominance in Pinot Noir grapes and is one of the archetypical Champagnes for the very highest standards across their range. In 1884 Bollinger became the official supplier to the British Court, thereby receiving a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. The Estate’s greatest expansion happened under the stewardship of Lily Bollinger, who ran the company between 1941 and 1977, travelling the world to promote the brand. Today the estate is managed by Lily Bollinger’s nephew, Ghislain de Montgolfier. Bollinger is known for producing weighty, muscular and powerful Champagnes. The first vintage of La Grande Annee Blanc was in 1976, making its screen debut in James Bond’s Casino Royale three decades later.
Bollinger La Grande Annee 2007, 6×75, £330 IB – 95 Points, Richard Juhlin
It might seem a bit surprising that Bollinger skipped the great vintage of 2006 for the more modest 2007. For me that choice is however quite logical since the Bollinger house style is much better suited to austere vintages than for fruit bombs. Here we have a classic and perfectly balanced Bollinger with deep layers and beautiful crisp apple acidity. Gorgeous balance between the dark and light as a perfect Ying and Yang marriage. Layers of dry cocoa, hazelnut fudge, dried apricots and juicy red apples dominate over a beautiful hint of forest aromas based on sous bois and mushrooms in the background. One of the three best champagnes from this vintage.