‘An ultimate gastronomic masterpiece’

93-95 points, Richard Juhlin

Dear Sir/Madam,

This morning sees the release of 2015 Bollinger La Grande Anné. The release of Grande Année is warmly greeted by champagne lovers the world over. We tried it with the team in the shop yesterday afternoon and lo and behold the 2015 is the most unexpectedly elegant and lacy vintage imaginable, without losing the tell-tale hazelnut complexity of a classic Bolly  Grande Année.

La Grande Année is the embodiment of Maison Bollinger’s expert craftsmanship, preserved from one generation to the next. The wine has always been entirely vinified in small oak barrels. After extended lees ageing for twice as long as required by the Champagne appellation, each bottle of La Grande Année is, to this day, still riddled and disgorged by hand.

A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from 11 crus, the fruit comes exclusively from Grand Crus and Premier Crus; mainly Aÿ and Verzenay for the Pinot Noir, Chouilly and Avize for the Chardonnay. The wine is fresh, but the reserve wines, aged for up to 10 years in magnum, add the aromatic intensity of Bollinger’s signature rich, open style. The House of Bollinger sums up this vintage of La Grande Année as ‘full of concentration and generosity in equal measure’.

The 2015 vintage saw the classic Champagne growth cycle: a particularly mild winter, which gave way to a varied spring followed by intense heat. It was a glorious summer with plenty of sunshine and little rain. The ripening of the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays was given a boost at the end of August by some long-awaited rainfall. The crops were harvested in mid-September under the cool autumnal skies, giving rise to elegant, fresh and fruity wines.

Richard Juhlin, probably the most expert critic working in today’s Champagne scene, is early with his review of the 2015 Grande Année. Juhlin awards it 93-95 points, describing how the small, concentrated grapes of this vintage have produced ‘an ultimate gastronomic masterpiece’.

La Grande Année is a gastronomic champagne, designed to be enjoyed with food. It can be drunk now but will continue to evolve and improve for many years.

Wines will be shipped in May this year. Please let us know if you want to discuss this, or click below to place an order.

Best wishes,

Brunswick Team.

Tel/WhatsApp +44 (0)1273 054690

2015 Bollinger La Grande Année

  • GBP 549 per case in bond (6x75cl)
  • Large formats will be available later in the year

‘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. At the 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.’

93-95 points, Richard Juhlin

‘Nice mid-yellow depth with a golden aspect and an inviting pan-dulce /sweet pastry nose. The tell-tale Bollinger Grande Année hazelnut kernel with some almonds to boot are matched with orchard fruit – red apple, plump cherry and of course, it leans towards citrus.  The palate is amazingly ballerina-like – a crisp GA with citrus burst accompanied by deeper touches of yellow plum, apricot and noisette.  Lacy and fine – elegant and bone dry – it promises a proper long life and suggests that its fine line will broaden with time.  10 minutes in the glass and the Champagne really begins to fan out and promises a peacock tail of a future!’

94 points, Brunswick FW

‘I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it — unless I’m thirsty.’

Madame Bollinger