La Grande Année 2005
Bollinger’s prestige cuvée is the vintage-dated La Grande Année, made of roughly two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. It is produced only when the harvest reaches a perfect balance. This wine ferments entirely in oak barrels, and undergoes its second fermentation under cork instead of crown capsule. It’s filled with aromas of honey, gingerbread and cinnamon, and offers a core of pastry and candied orange flavors on the palate.
In 1976, Bollinger Vintage became Grande Année; then, in 1997, “La” Grande Année, a name simple enough to illustrate its exceptional status. This prestige cuvée made its silver screen debut two years later, in James Bond’s Casino Royale.
The 2005 season delivered a higher than average annual temperature, with a dry and sunny September that promised a high-quality harvest.
95% of the fruit was sourced from Grand Cru villages and 5% from Premier Cru villages. The Pinot Noir comes predominantly from Äy and Verzenay, the Chardonnay from Avize, Chouilly and Mesnil-sur-Oger.
La Grande Année is vinified entirely in older oak barrels, and undergoes its second fermentation under cork, rather than on crown capsule. The wine spent approximately 6 years on the lees, and has a moderate dosage of 6 grams per liter.
The vintage-dated La Grande Année is only produced in exceptional years and is rightly known as one of the world’s greatest champagnes. The 2005 vintage has a slightly higher amount of Pinot Noir (70%) than usual, with Chardonnay rounding out the rest of the blend (30%). It is exceptionally approachable now, as 2005 was a rather warm year, with high levels of ripeness.
“Its delicate color and golden reflections are a sign of the wine’s maturity. There is great complexity in the nose, with notes of honey, gingerbread and cinnamon aromas that give way to subtle notes of dried fruits (hazelnut) and dried flowers (lime blossom). This is a full wine featuring flavors of pastry, candied orange and ripe fruit, followed by woodland and vanilla. Boasting a creamy effervescence quality, the subtle acidity of the finish adds freshness to the 2005 vintage.” – Denis Bunner, Deputy Cellar Master
La Grande Année 2005 is the perfect Champagne to serve with a fine meal, underscoring Bollinger’s reputation as the ultimate food pairing Champagne. It is versatile and a great match with foie gras, fresh or pan-fried. The Champagne shines when enjoyed with grilled fish and lobster; it can stand up to a freshly roasted lamb or veal, as well. A simple, yet divine enhancement is with fresh Parmesan or Comté.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Champagne Bollinger supports sustainable wine growing by grassing over the ground, using biological pest control, reducing the use of herbicides, recycling pruning waste, and planting hedges and orchards to encourage biodiversity. The Côte aux Enfants vineyard is managed organically.
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Wine Spectator - “A powerful, structured and graceful 2005, showing deft integration of the rich, chalky underpinning, firm acidity and expansive flavors of crushed black currant, spring blossom, toasted almond, crystallized honey and preserved lemon. Offers a fine, raw silk–like mousse and a long, spiced finish. Disgorged February 2015.”
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