The delicate colour of this champagne characterises both the wine’s maturity and Bollinger’s winemaking methods. On the nose, initial scents of almonds and fleshy fruits such as mango combine with citrus notes and grapefruit. On the palate, the citrus notes continue and lead the way for honeyed flavours and a long lasting refreshing finish. A champagne that will age really well.
In 1976, Bollinger Vintage was re-named Grande Année. Then in 1997, it became La Grande Année – ‘The Great Year’ – a name simple enough to illustrate its exceptional status, because only truly extraordinary years become vintage at Bollinger. La Grande Année made its screen débuts two years later in James Bond’s Casino Royale. This vintage is entirely fermented in oak barrel and is produced from fourteen crus: 91% Grand Cru and 9% Premier Cru. 2008 is the first vintage of La Grande Année to be bottled in the new ‘1846’ bottle which is to replicate a small magnum. This bottle has been completely redesigned, inspired by a 19th-century bottle discovered in the Bollinger cellars which dates back to 1846. The idea in using the curved shape of the bottle is to aim for the perfect balance of a “small magnum” with a narrower neck and a wider base, to very slightly slow down the oxygen exchange and therefore give a better quality wine with longer ageing potential.
Vinification takes place exclusively in small old oak barrels (20 years old on average), maintained in Bollinger’s cooperage, of which there are almost 3,500. Riddling and disgorging are performed entirely by hand, and take place after ageing on the lees in bottles with natural corks.