Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2008
Vieilles Vignes Françaises is one of Champagne’s most mythical cuvees, produced from miraculously preserved and ungrafted 100% Pinot Noir vines. Phylloxera destroyed the vines of Champagne in the early 20th century, but amazingly enough two of Bollinger’s classified Grands crus plots, Chaudes Terres and Clos St. Jacques, survived and are still grown the traditional way. Madame Lily Bollinger first had this wine produced in 1969 as an anniversary cuvee to commemorate her 70th birthday. Following the wine’s launch in 1974, Vieilles Vignes Françaises promptly became a collectible and a symbol of a bygone era. Over the decades, its uniqueness and scarcity have made it one of the most sought-after and expensive Champagnes.
In the early 20th century, the vines of Champagne were destroyed by phylloxera. In order to fight the devastating insect, everything had to be replanted using American rootstock. Everything, except two Bollinger plots in Aÿ classified as Grand cru which remained untouched: Chaudes Terres and Clos St Jacques. To this day, these two plots are grown the traditional way, following the ‘provignage’ method, worked by hand and even sometimes with the help of a cart-horse. Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises is a symbol of a bygone era: an extraordinary and moving legacy. The Vieilles Vignes Françaises wine is thought to be the eternal soul of Champagne.
Made in the traditional champagne method, this wine ages on the lees for more than twice the time required by the appellation. It has moderate dosage of 6 g/l and is sealed with natural cork whilst ageing.
At Bollinger, only very high quality harvests become a vintage. The 2010 season was an exceptional one, revealing a very refreshing Champagne that brings out the full impact of the fruit. The parcels of Vieilles Vignes Françaises were harvested on September 16th. In total, there were 3,180 numbered bottles produced for the world.
The eye is greeted by a unique colour with golden undertones. The wine opens with a complex nose, detailing roasted nuts of hazelnut, mocha and toast, complemented by notes of mirabelle and red plum. Moving to the palate, there is a very broad aromatic spectrum is expressed through an unctuous, precise and saline quality on the palate with notes of nuts, spices (vanilla, cardamom) and verbena. It has remarkable length, marked by a lemony, chalky finish.
Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2008 can be paired with the finest dishes, but can also help create a special occasion on its own; wine connoisseurs will share it thoughtfully, enjoying the opportunity to try its rare unmatched flavors. To fully appreciate its unique style, bouquet and aromas, it is best to serve Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2008 between 10 and 12°C. You can enjoy Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2008 right away, or choose to age it further in your cellar.
The two remaining pre-phylloxera plots used for this wine are grown the traditional way, following the “provinage” method, worked by hand and even sometimes with the help of a cart-horse.
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Vinous - "The 2008 Blanc de Noirs Vieilles Vignes Françaises is a total thrill to taste. Bright and finely sculpted, the VVF expresses all of the natural tension of the year in grand style. One moment it is the aromatics that are most captivating, then in another moment it is the wine's total balance that makes the strongest impression. Constantly changing in the glass, the 2008 VVF is one of those rare Champagnes than can hold the taster's attention for hours, or at least until the bottling is finished. Bollinger's tiny production Blanc de Noirs from ungrafted vines in two tiny plots totaling 0.36 hectares is truly mesmerizing in 2008. I can't wait to taste it next to some of the other iconic vintages. Harvest took place on September 18 and the wine was vinified entirely in new oak. Dosage is 6 grams per liter." - A.G.
Decanter - "Spectacular wine. One of the finest vintages of the last 20 years, with excellent ripeness yet superb balance. The fruit from the ungrafted Pinot Noir in Aÿ was picked on 16 September and fermented in cask before being aged for 10 years, dosed at 8g/L. The result is still youthful, with bright primary apple and quince fruit and hints of almond, spice from the cask ferment, and a touch of yeasty autolysis. The texture is lush yet vibrant with plenty of volume and an exquisite elegance that endures through the luxuriously long finish."
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