Bollinger La Grande Annee 2012

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
WS97, WE96, WA95

This goes from zero to 60 right out of the gate, with an intense spine of acidity driving tightly meshed flavors of crushed black currant, ground coffee, candied grapefruit peel and toasted almond. The profile expands on the palate, carried by the fine, raw silk–like mousse. Richly aromatic and expressive from start to lasting, spiced finish. Disgorged July 2019. Drink now through 2037. - WS97

Still young for a wine of this caliber, this rich Champagne has an immense future ahead of it. The freshness of the wine will mature into the rich toastiness that is such a hallmark of this brand. Oak fermentation and aging have added to the great promise of this fine wine. Drink from 2022. - WE96

Disgorged in July 2019, Bollinger's 2012 Brut La Grande Année is showing well, offering up an incipiently complex bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, fresh peach, orange oil, toasted walnuts and dried apricot that's still quite reserved with less than a year on cork. Full-bodied, deep and muscular, the 2012 is blockier and broader-shouldered than its 2008 predecessor, with a weightier and even more concentrated palate built around a bright spine of acidity, concluding with a chalky finish that carries appreciably dry extract. This isn't quite as elegant as the exquisite 2008, but it is a superb effort and obviously built to age. Drink: 2024~2050 - WA95

The delicate colour and golden hues are a sign of the wine’s maturity and reflective of Bollinger’s wine-making methods.  Full and expressive on the nose. Apricot, almond and hazelnut, as well as honey and cereals, intertwine in a symphony of aromas.  Dense, satiny and long on the palate. It is fresh and unctuous, with a deliciously bitter finish. The texture and structure are exceptional. - Winemaker's Notes

The Winery

Champagne Bollinger is one of the most famous houses in Champagne, in northern France. It is notable for its muscular, Pinot Noir-dominant cuvée, and is widely available around the world.

The house, originally known as Renaudin-Bollinger & Cie, was founded in 1829. It passed through generations of the family of Bollinger until 2008 when, for the first time in its history, the chairman came from outside of the family. Champagne Bollinger is still independently owned by Société Jacques Bollinger.  

Bollinger is located in Aÿ in the heart of Champagne, and the majority of the vines are located on premier cru and grand cru plots. The house style is focused on Pinot Noir, with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier being used to enhance rather than dominate. Pinot Noir makes up no less than 60 percent of all of the Bollinger collection, and there is no Blanc de Blanc in the portfolio.

Two thirds of the grapes are estate grown, with the rest coming from growers with a long history with the house; all plots are vinified separately to allow for each specific terroir to be fully expressed. Bollinger manages 169 hectares (417 acres) of vineyards. 

Bollinger has a vast array of barrels dating back to 1903. The majority are purchased from a French négociant at three years of age and are maintained by an in-house cooper until the age of 30. This allows for the roundness of style and integrated flavor typical of Bollinger.

The house also has a large portfolio of reserve wines that are kept under cork rather than the more traditional crown cap. This is both time-consuming and expensive, with hand riddling and disgorgement needed, which is why the majority of Champagne houses do not follow this practice.

The Bollinger collection encompasses non-vintage brut and rosé wines, La Grand Année Brut and Rosé, as well as prestige cuvées, RD, Vielles Vignes Francaises and La Cote aux Enfants. RD (meaning recently disgorged) was the brainchild of Madame Bollinger in the mid 20th Century, a major innovation of the time. This cuvée is kept on its lees much longer than any other wine in the range. Disgorging the bottle just before release – hence the "recently disgorged" – allows for a combination of freshness and age.

In recent years, Bollinger RD has been the favorite of James Bond in the Licence to Kill, Skyfall and Spectre movies. This highlights a historical relationship between the two brands, which began on paper in the 1956 novel Diamonds are Forever; Ian Fleming wrote that Bollinger was the favourite champagne of Her Majesty's secret agent.   

Société Jacques Bollinger also includes Ayala Champagne, Langlois-Chateau, Delamain and Maison Chanson within its holdings. In 2002, Bollinger expanded into Australia and established Tapanappa in partnership with the Cazes family of Lynch Bages and Brian and Ann Croser. - Information from Wine Searcher



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