The Champagne house Bollinger is one of the very best producers of this most prestigious origin for sparkling wines. It was founded in 1829 by Joseph Bollinger, a native of Württemberg who emigrated to Champagne in 1822 like many Germans, Athanase-Louis-Emmanuel Hennequin de Villermonts and Paul Renaudin. Since Bollinger's children continued the company, the other two names have now disappeared or, like Hennequin, were never used from the start. As early as the 1880s, Bollinger became the official supplier to the British royal family.
Today, the excellent reputation is largely based on the work of the resolute Madame Lily Bollinger, who took over the estate after the death of her husband and did a lot to raise awareness of the brand and, contrary to all trends at the time, the vinous house style established here from mature reserve wines and was thus able to further increase the world fame of this champagne house. She created the top cuvees R.D. (1961) and the Vieilles Vignes Francais in 1969. The photo with her on a bicycle in the vineyard is also very well known. She managed the estate from 1941 to 1971. One of the most famous quotes about the fine sparkling wine comes from her: "I drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone; and when When I have company, it must not be missing. When I am not hungry I use it to whet my appetite, and when I am hungry I enjoy it. Otherwise I do not touch it, except when I am thirsty."
The company is still family-owned today and is therefore a rarity among the big brands in Champagne. Bollinger maintains many special features that set the house apart from other producers. The wines are fermented and matured in wooden barrels, which incidentally come from our own cooperage. The majority of the processed grapes come from our own vineyards. This consists of 85% Grand Cru sites. The 179 hectares of vineyards are located in the municipalities of Aÿ, Avenay, Tauxières, Louvois, Verzenay, Cuis and Champvoisy. In the extensive and branched cellars under the winery there are 300,000 magnum bottles with reserve wines, which are the basis for the unique style and the outstanding quality of Bollinger champagnes. They also do without champagne varieties with a large dosage, which are intended to appeal to a wider range of customers with their sweetness. Usually only 7 g / liter is used, in exceptional cases a maximum of 9 g. Bollinger must always taste lively and stimulating, there is no room for excessive sweetness.
The grape variety Pinot Noir is represented by 60% in the Bollinger vineyards, giving the wines a powerful and complex character. The Special Cuvée is the most important champagne of the house, it is made from 60% of this vine, so it reflects the vine distribution of the vineyards. Other varieties are Chardonnay, which grows in Cuis, and Pinot Meunier, which comes from Champvoisy. The vineyards are unusually densely planted, resulting in a low yield per vine and therefore the highest possible quality. However, if a must does not meet the requirements for its own production, it is sold to other bottlers.
For a harmonious landscape, wooden stakes made of pine are also used instead of the easier-to-handle metal stakes. The floors are greened and flowers are also planted for biodiversity. Pest control is biological. The Côte aux Enfants vineyard, from which one of the few good still red wines in Champagne comes, is even farmed entirely organically. Bollinger was the first champagne house to receive the "High Environmental Value" certification for its environmental commitment. The property also owns two tiny vineyards with ungrafted vines that were spared from the phylloxera plague. These grapes are used for the extremely rare and expensive Vieilles Vignes Francaises, first produced in 1969.
The Bollinger collection begins with the aforementioned Special Cuvée. It is the basic cuvée without a vintage and consists of 85% 1er and Grand Cru layers. It consists mostly of reserve wines that have been stored for between 5 and 15 years. It is aged at least twice as long as required by the Champagne statutes. The matured base wines show aromas such as baked apple, apple compote, nuts, plus fruity notes such as peach and the typical brioche-yeast note of high-quality champagne. The perlage is super elegant. Undoubtedly one of the very best basic champagnes ever.
The Bollinger Rosé, also without vintage, gets its color from the addition of 5% red wine. Here, too, more than 85% of 1er and Grand Crus. Aromatically it tends towards berries and cherries, a very delicate tannin structure gives the bite in the long finale.
Prestige Cuvees Grande Annee and R.D. always come from just one vintage and they are only brought to the market in outstanding years. Both belong to the absolute top of Champagne and are almost idolized by connoisseurs. The former usually comes onto the market after about seven to eight years and consists of grapes that have grown to around 80% Grand Cru and 20% 1er Cru sites. The RD has an even higher proportion of Grand Cru and is released much later, often only after 15 years. It has a very low dosage of around 3 grams per liter and is declared "extra brut". Since the 2007 vintage, it has again had the disgorging date on the label, which states the time when the yeast plug was removed from the bottle and the final bottling was carried out. The first edition of the R.D. Born in 1952 by Lilly Bollinger. The RD is reserved only for the very best vintages, most recently these were 2007, 2004 and 2002. Today, in addition to the same-name champagne house, Société Jaques Bollinger also owns Champagne Ayala, Maison Chanson in Burgundy, Langlois-Chateau in the Loire Valley and the cognac bottler Delamain. In addition, there are always special editions such as the James Bond series. Since Bond author Ian Flemming is said to have been a great lover of Bollinger champagne, he mentioned it in his 1956 book "Diamonds Are Forever". Bollinger has been the constant companion of Her Majesty's Agent since the 1973 film "live and let die" starring Roger Moore.