La Grande Année 2014
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 capsules. 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.
78% of the fruit was sourced from Grand Cru villages and 22% from Premier Cru villages. The Pinot Noir, 61% of the blend, comes predominantly from Äy and Verzenay, and the Chardonnay, 39% of the blend, from Chouilly and Oiry.
Additionally, Bollinger was accredited with a “High Environmental Value” certification in 2012 (more here).
La Grande Année is vinified entirely in older oak barrels, specifically used 228 liter barrels and 400 liter casks that are up to 40 years old. The wine remains in barrel for 6 months, undergoing both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel, a point of distinction from the minute remaining producers who do ferment in barrel. The wine is then bottled under cork to undergo its secondary fermentation, rather than crown capsule. As a result, every bottle has to be hand-riddled and hand-disgorged. The wine spent about 7 years on the lees, and has a moderate dosage of 8 grams per liter. Needless to say, this is not an efficient way to produce Champagne. Quality is the only objective.
2014 marked an exceptional year: After the sunniest June in 50 years,
which resulted in a fairly early flowering, the months of July and August in particular were the coldest for almost 50 years. The two largest Bollinger vineyards –Aÿ et Verzenay –began harvesting five days after the official opening dates. All Bollinger vineyards began harvesting on the same day, the 15th of September (5 days later than the official date), resulting in the harvest being very grouped up and completed in just nine days (usually this takes two weeks). The quality of the grape was definitely there; the acidity was preserved by the cold summer, and parasites were kept at bay by a bright September, which allowed a beautiful maturity. There was a great balance achieved between maturity and acidity in the grape musts.
A precise and fruity nose with a slight scent of sea-air. Aromas of cherry and lemon mingle with quince and bergamot. Then notes of hazelnut and almond, peach and mirabelle plum complete this wine’s range of aromas. The initial sensation is a fine and intense effervescence, followed by a wonderful vinosity, and then balanced with delicate acidity. It’s very fine texture and sea-air finish bring excellent length on the palate, accompanied by a delicate minerality and the complex flavors of orchard fruit and citrus.
La Grande Année 2014 is the perfect Champagne to serve with a fine meal, underscoring Bollinger’s reputation as the ultimate food pairing Champagne. The Champagne shines when enjoyed with scallops paired with sorrel and vanilla or grilled oysters with smoked butter and sea purslane. Classic French hen of the woods mushroom, potato emulsion and truffles will do just fine. It can stand up to heartier fish and roasted meats as well.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Sustainable farming practices include biological pest control, reducing the use of herbicides, recycling pruning waste and planting hedges/orchards to encourage biodiversity.
Suggested Retail Price
Vinous - March 8, 2022
"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. [This is] a truly magical Grande Année that will delight Champagne fans for several decades. I can’t recommend the 2014 highly enough. It’s a total knock-out." - AG
Wine Advocate - March 8, 2022
"Offering up complex aromas of crisp yellow orchard fruit, confit citrus, frangipane, walnuts, dried white flowers and subtle hints of iodine, Bollinger's 2014 Brut La Grande Année is medium to full-bodied, pillowy and vinous, with an elegantly fleshy core of fruit that's underpinned by racy acids and complemented by a pretty pinpoint mousse. Concluding with a long, chalky finish, this is a charming but precise Grande Année that's more giving and demonstrative than its immediate predecessor, the 2012, but which attains a very similar level of quality in a more challenging vintage—testimony to the serious viticulture that underpins Bollinger's contemporary excellence." -WK
Wine Spectator - April 6, 2022
"Racy acidity drives this mouthwatering Champagne, enlivening the rich panoply of flavors. Features a fine and creamy mousse that's still a lively springboard for aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, glazed tangerine, roasted hazelnut, ground coffee, pickled ginger and white blossoms. Long and satiny, with minerally salt and chalk notes gaining momentum on the lasting finish." -AN 4/22
Jeb Dunnuck - November 8, 2022
"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." —A.F. 11/22
James Suckling - August 2, 2023
"Plenty of pie-crust and bread-dough aromas with lemon and apple tart. Flint as well. Medium to full body with a creamy texture and lovely elegance. It was a difficult vintage, but this came out nicely. Contrastive. Crisp at the end, even though the mid-palate is fruity. 61% pinot noir and 39% chardonnay. " —J.S. 8/23
More on Champagne Bollinger La Grande Année 2014
March 10, 2022 - Its an exciting launch week for Champagne Bollinger, releasing both the La Grande Année and La Grande Année Rose 2014 vintage. Both Antonio Galloni of Vinous Media, and William Kelley…
March 30, 2022 - The news of the new vintage was included in today’s “News Briefs”, which provides an overview of the prestige cuvée and the global culinary program. The write up notes that…
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