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Blanc de Noirs: Champagne’s Black Beauty

August 20, 2020

Wine-Searcher published an interesting story that highlights the launch of Champagne Bollinger PN VZ15, while also examining why it isn’t common for Champagne Houses to list Blanc de Noirs on the label – as is the case with Bollinger’s new release. The short answer is consumer perception – Pinot Noir has cachet to stand on its own, whereas Chardonnay benefits from the “glamorous” Blanc de Blancs description.

Illustrating the Blanc de Blancs comparison further, the writer provides an entertaining anecdote from a consumer: “Madame, here is your Blanc de Blancs, pure Chardonnay,” said the sommelier, presenting the bottle. The screech of outrage nearly pinned her to the wall. “Chardonnay? I never asked for Chardonnay. I asked for Blanc de Blancs.”

After discussing variations of brands producing Blanc de Noirs, the story then focuses on Bollinger PN VZ15, which “is intended to be a baby brother for Vieilles Vignes Françaises, that rarest of rare wines.”

The write up breaks down details on the winemaking and philosophy, before declaring it “is glorious now: exotic on the nose, with notes of stone fruit, redcurrant and spice; a soft texture, very complex palate and a saline finish. It’s a taut but rich wine, fresh and succulent.”

The concept behind PN VZ15 came from a challenge from Cellar Master Gilles Descotes, who challenged his team to produce a pure expression of Pinot Noir focusing on one village and they’d pick the best blend in a blind tasting. As it turns out, Descotes’ blend came out on top.

“How do you get such complexity from a single village? By blending. Bollinger has 38 different plots in Verzenay, all with different exposures, and on four different soil types. That’s quite a lot to play with. And when you add in different vinifications – some in oak, some in steel – and reserve wines, you are constructing something in three dimensions. You can add more or less structure according to the slope, the ripeness and the soil.”

Read the rest of the story HERE


Related Wines

    Champagne Bollinger

    Champagne Bollinger PN VZ15

    Champagne, France

    PN, made entirely from Pinot Noir to underscore the very essence and DNA of the House style, is the first new cuvée added to Bollinger’s permanent range since rosé in 2008. Each release of PN, developed as a series to bring Bollinger’s unique vision of Pinot Noir to light, will showcase a different cru from the base year that highlights its distinctive terroir and taste. The first edition of the series, PN VZ15, explores the interpretation of Pinot Noir from Verzenay 2015 and features reserve wines dating back to 2009.

Related Producers

    Champagne Bollinger

    Champagne, France

    Bollinger is one of the rare Grande Marques that’s still family owned. Known for its rich, elegant and polished style of Champagne, their outstanding wines are the result of rigorous attention to detail and incredibly labor-intensive practices that few houses are willing to undertake. Underscoring its excellence, Bollinger has remained British secret agent James Bond's Champagne of choice since 1973.