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Tasting Notes

Tasting notes
FINE+RARE, Mar 2024

The latest release of Bollinger’s Grande Année is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, all sourced from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards across 11 Crus, with a focus on Aÿ, Verzenay, Chouilly and Avize. A gorgeous golden colour, this is already wonderfully expressive – with notes of soft amaretti, roasted almond, yellow plum, candied lemon peel, lemon curd and grapefruit pith lifting from the glass. Bollinger’s trademark power fills the palate, a broad and profound wine that expands in the mouth, at once generous and tightly coiled. There is such potential here, with a backbone of taut acidity that plays with the weight and dry extract in the wine. The finish is long, with savoury, mouth-watering salinity and a lemon sherbet freshness. Gorgeous now, but this will be even better if you can resist it for a couple of years.

Critic Scores

Critic scores
95
95/100

Average Score

94
93-95/100

Richard Juhlin

95
94-96/100

Essi Avellan MW

More reviews and scores

93 - 95 points
Richard Juhlin
Score 93-95/100 · Richard Juhlin

Oops, is it already time for another vintage of this gem? Amazing how fast time goes. 2015 is generally a problematic vintage with heat stress and a period of drought. It is no art to get richness and power in the wines, but elegance and freshness are rare. Because Bollinger's house style is inherently so masculinely powerful, Bollinger's eminent team focused on preserving freshness first and foremost. According to Denis Bunner, Bollinger felt that the grapes they had access to gave more typicity and greater elegance to the Chardonnay this time. Hence a slightly higher content of the green grape than in the original recipe. Perhaps even more important was the choice of Avize and Verzenay as engines. Verzenay behaves in many ways like Chardonnay with its chalky elegance and great purity. This time the shares of Aÿ and Verzenay were equal for the unusual skull. Fat Cramant and Oger were now downplayed and Avize was primarily supported by tight Chouilly. An interesting detail that reduces tannin, clumsiness and contributes to an increased sense of freshness is, oddly enough, oak barrels. This is due to its great age and the company's strict selection of the best casks that only provide microoxidation. The color is already deep golden with a fine stream of tiny bubbles fighting their way up through the glycerol-rich concentrated wine. Intense and rich and at the same time nuanced and complex. The small concentrated grapes ultimately produced an ultimate gastronomic masterpiece. The scent cannonade is classic Bollinger, but fresh and more nuanced than I expected from the vintage. Stone fruits, honeysuckle, honey, plum marmalade, Cox Orange, raspberry, almond, hazelnut, leather, tanned skin, cigar, and duck liver are all clear instruments in the orchestra playing their richly generous vintage anthem. The freshness does not come from acid this time, but from lack of water and concentrated extracts in a similar way as the even more extreme 2003. I finish I find tobacco, forest and chocolate with sea salt, a delicious combination. Precisely the saltiness and the slightly higher tannin content contribute to making this a perfect partner for poultry in all its forms.

94 - 96 points
Essi Avellan MW
Score 94-96/100 · Essi Avellan MW, Mar 2024

A hot year with drought issues made Bollinger seek freshness and subtlety via Pinot Noirs of north facing terroirs and an unusually high proportion of Chardonnay (40%). The nose oozes lush red berry fruit, golden raisins and tropical fruit exuberance. Rich and ripe in profile, the wine if laudably free of the culprit of the year, the vegetal austerity, which Bollinger was able to avoid by barrel vinifications’ effect in removing excess phenolics and the strict selection enabled by individual barrels. There is impressive density on the textured palate, that finishes on a spicy note adding on to the wine’s freshness. A rare success in 2015, this is a vintage for the friends of Bollinger’s classically vinous style. Due to its richness and structuredness it promises fine potential for ageing.

96 points
Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Score 96/100 · Antonio Galloni, Vinous, Mar 2024

Bollinger's 2015 Brut Grand Année is an intriguing wine in that is clearly reflects the decision to pick on the later side in order to avoid vegetal notes derived from the mismatch of alcoholic and phenolic ripeness. "Balance was hard to achieve in 2015," Chef de Cave Dennis Bunner notes. "At 10% in sugar, the fruit was simply not ripe. We had to wait to reach the optimal window of ripeness." Bunner also opted to increase the Chardonnay, so the blend is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, as opposed to the more typical 70/30 blend, with more Verzenay than Aÿ in the Pinots. Dried citrus peel, sage, menthol, sage, tangerine peel and spice build with some coaxing. Light tropical overtones develop with aeration. There's real density and textural richness here. This will be a fascinating vintage to follow. Stylistically, it is the complete opposite from the much more linear 2014 that precedes it.

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About the producer

Champagne Bollinger - Producer
Champagne Bollinger

Bollinger is one of the most renowned and coveted Champagne Houses in the world, famous for its Pinot-Noir-dominant wines, in particular La Grande Année and the rare Vieilles Vignes Françaises (from pre-phylloxera vines).

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Product details

Product Type

Champagne and sparkling wine

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