The 2014 La Grande Année is stunning. In fact it is one of the best recent editions I can remember tasting. What comes through most is the wine?s sizzling energy and tension qualities that aren?t often associated with Bollinger where the Champagnes tend to show more breadth and volume. In 2014 readers will find a Grande Année built on linear intensity and drive. The 2014 is a blend taken from 19 villages 61% Pinot Noir and 39% Chardonnay instead of the more typical 70/30 mix. For the second time in two decades (the first was 2007) Verzenay takes the lead in the Pinots over Aÿ more or less an inverse from the norm. Verzenay a north-facing village in the Montagne de Reims that saw less rain than Aÿ and most of the Vallée
Raised entirely in barrel, the 2014 Champagne La Grande Année Brut is all about finesse and capturing the cool, mineral tension and floral notes of the vintage. Enhancing those qualities, a bit higher proportion of Chardonnay was used for this release, making up 39% of the blend. It pours a pale straw, and it is layered and persistent with lightly toasted pastry, Mirabel plum liqueur, and saline. The palate is dry and more tightly wound at this stage, with driving citrus, a chalky texture, and a light phenolic finish. Subtle undercurrents of honey and butterscotch should continue to evolve beautifully over the coming decades. Drink 2024-2044. Disgorged December 2021, it has 7 grams per liter of dosage.Located in Ay, Bollinger was founded in 1829. To mark the 200th anniversary of the house, they have several projects in the works scheduled for completion in 2029, not only to commemorate the occasion but to carry the house into their next chapter. Construction is underway to renovate the Maison Deuil, the long-time private residence on the property, into a 20-room hotel along with a restaurant, which is sure to make a significant impact on the tiny village. A signature of the house is that they have their own cooperage on site to build and maintain their barrels. Gael Chaunut took over the position from Denis Saint Arroman as head cooper for the house in December of 2020. All the wood is sourced from their property in the forest of Cuis. As négociants, they purchase 60% their grapes and own 179 hectares of planted vineyards. Sixty percent of their production is dedicated to Pinot Noir, with 25% to Chardonnay and the remainder to Meunier. The inaugural release of 2012 La Côte Aux Enfants is the second single-parcel bottling from the house and completes the collection of Pinot Noir Champagnes alongside the PN Series and Vieilles Vignes Françaises. Stylistically, the Vieille Vignes Françaises remains the richest and most powerful wine in the range, with an emphasis on the concentration of its fruit from the ungrafted vines of Clos Saint Jacques.