A small revolution in the world of Champagne. In 1967, Bollinger releases R.D. 1952. There is no comparable Champagne on the market at the time. This bold and brilliant Champagne takes the pillars of what makes Champagne Bollinger so unique, and pushes them to their ultimate level. It is, very simply, a masterpiece.
R.D. stands for “recently disgorged.” The majority of Champagne Houses have always kept a collection of old wines in order to share with their family, close friends and special guests. The custom was that these old wines were especially disgorged only a very short time before being tasted, so that those invited could share a perfect moment when the wine, disgorged just recently, would offer an extraordinary contrast of freshness and complexity from age.
Bollinger is the producer most associated with a single grape variety in Champagne, namely Pinot Noir. This more demanding grape to grow makes up a minimum of 60% of all of Bollinger’s Champagne, and for R.D. is truly the backbone that allows the Champagne to age. The harmony of Pinot Noir’s richness and elegance becomes ever more complex with the time this Champagne sees before release. Then there is the other association that Bollinger is so well known for: winemaking in barrel. As virtually every Champagne producer in the latter half of the 20th century moved to fermenting in large lots in stainless steel tanks, Bollinger persisted to oversee fermentation barrel by barrel for all vintage Champagnes. Another peculiarity of Bollinger’s vintage Champagnes is the aging under cork rather than crown capsule, to allow oxygen to continue to slowly work its magic on the development of the wine. Why do other producers not do this? Because every single bottle must subsequently be riddled by hand and then hand-disgorged. Lastly, this wine is is typically aged 10-15 years before release, with an aging potential that if not quite immortal, will outlast all of us.
Lastly, we have to say it – it’s no wonder R.D. is the Champagne of choice for James Bond.
R.D. 2007 is sourced from a total of 14 crus, 91% of which are Grand Cru and 9% of which are Premier Cru.
Additionally, Bollinger was accredited with a “High Environmental Value” certification in 2012 (more here).
The 2007 is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. R.D. 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.
After 14 years on the lees, the wine is given a dosage of only 3 grams per liter, making it Extra Brut.
With the 2007 vintage, the original material of the label is restored, as well as the font of the legendary 1952 vintage, the first of the Bollinger R.D. cuvées. The disgorgement date appears once again.
The 2007 vintage of the R.D. cuvée embodies the House’s dedication to hard work and Madame Bollinger’s vision. It underscores the belief in the authenticity of expertise. The contrast between freshness on the palate and the spicy aromatic intensity of Bollinger R.D. 2007 brings a new experience of the cuvée to lovers of fine wine.
“To the eye, the wine presents intense shimmers of gold. The complex nose opens with aromas of honey and brioche, followed by a host of spices (ginger, cumin, caraway, and more), before evolving into notes of mirabelle plum, dried apricot and fresh hazelnut. The palate has a lively and clean opening that reveals notes of white plum, walnut and aniseed. Its freshness is beautiful and its tension incredible.”
– CELLAR MASTER GILLES DESCOTES
Sometimes you come across a match that brings together complexity of flavors, textures and even stories in a memorable way to create the ultimate pairing.
The 14 years that Bollinger R.D. 2007 spent aging on the lees results in an extraordinary range of primary, secondary and tertiary characteristics that come in a frame of almost unimaginable tension of developed richness and freshness.
In their quest to find the best way to serve Bollinger R.D. at the estate, the food-obsessed team at Bollinger came to the conclusion that pairings based on saffron, offers extraordinary pleasure and an array of both complementary and supplementary flavors and textures to R.D. Langoustine with saffron-infused vinaigrette, fillet of halibut in a saffron crust or bresse chicken with a saffron and ginger sauce are exceptional suggestions.
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.
Wine Advocate - “Disgorged on July 10, 2020, with three grams per liter dosage, Bollinger's eagerly awaited 2007 Extra-Brut R. D. is beautiful, unwinding in the glass with aromas of crisp orchard fruit, citrus pith and white flowers mingled with hints of honey, orange oil, buttery pastry, English walnuts and delicately spicy bass notes. Full-bodied, vibrant and incisive, it's unusually elegant and structurally fine-boned for what is routinely one of Champagne's more muscular tête de cuvées, with a bright spine of acidity that's cloaked in vibrant, concentrated fruit, complemented by a pearly pinpoint mousse and concluding with an intensely sapid finish. Long and penetrating, this is a tightly coiled R. D. that will reward bottle age.”
Vinous Media - "Bollinger’s 2007 R.D. is superb, but it is also a wine that reflects the nature of a unique and challenging growing season. In most vintages the R.D. is marked by the distinct creaminess and breadth of Aÿ Pinot Noir. 2007, though, was a difficult year marked by very dry weather, rain at the end of the growing season and an early harvest in August, something that was not as common as it has become. Selection was essential. For the 2007, the blend is composed of just 14 villages compared to the more typical 18-25. Verzenay is the main Pinot component while Cramant plays the leading role in the Chardonnays. For these reasons, the 2007 is an R.D. driven by more focus, energy and tension than readers are used to seeing. Lemon confit, dried flowers, sage, mint, crushed rocks, almond and ginger are some of the aromas and flavors that give the 2007 its complex, multi-faceted personality. The 2007 can be enjoyed now, but I would prefer to cellar it for a few years. It will age effortlessly for decades as it moves through the various phases of its life. I was reminded of the way Champagne can magically traverse time by magical bottles of the 1976 R.D. and 1996 Vieilles Vignes Françaises I tasted recently. The blend is 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, 91% Grand Cru fruit and the rest Premier Cru. Bollinger fans will notice the return of the original label, with the disgorgement date clearly visible, a tribute to Madame Bollinger, who was a pioneer in so many ways. Disgorged: July 10, 2020. Dosage is 3 grams per liter."
Other Wines by this Producer
From vineyard to bottling, Special Cuvée sees such an extraordinary level of care and attention, it is difficult to place within the non-vintage or, really, any Champagne category. It is a Champagne that stands apart. Within one bottle, all the complexity of flavor, texture and pleasure that Champagne can offer. Special Cuvée is truly a journey of devotion from Bollinger.
In the same way that Special Cuvée stands apart from non-vintage Champagnes, Bollinger Rosé is an exception for Rosé Champagnes. What is more, it is a relative secret, as Bollinger did not release a non-vintage Rosé until 2008 and the quantity produced is quite limited. The wine begins as Special Cuvée and then Bollinger's specialty as the Pinot Noir producer in Champagne takes center stage, as the red fruits that join the conversation dance vibrantly, the finish has just a hint of perfectly ripe tannin, and the deep complexity of the wine shines through transparently.
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.
La Grande Année: The Great Year. This Champagne is the embodiment of everything that makes Bollinger the producer that stands apart in Champagne. La Grande Année, or LGA, preserves the traditions of the past and symbolizes the word "hand-crafted" so strongly that an overused word suddenly becomes the only appropriate definition.
Lily Bollinger agreed to a Bollinger rosé under one condition, it had to be extraordinary, and that is how La Grande Année Rosé was born. A blend like no other, the wine is as an extension to the House's prestige cuvée, La Grande Année, as is the subtle marriage between this great vintage Champagne and the addition of red wine from a unique plot, the legendary Côte aux Enfants.
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.
This limited edition cuvée celebrates 2 important milestones. Firstly, it celebrates the historic partnership between Bollinger and Bond. Bollinger has been the exclusive Champagne partner of Bond since 1979, so 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of their relationship. Secondly, it celebrates the release of the upcoming movie, No Time to Die, which will be the 25th movie in the series (and Bollinger’s 15th Bond movie since the start of the partnership).
A stunning and extremely rare, still red wine produced only for the greatest vintages. This wine harmoniously combines 100% Pinot Noir Grand Cru fruit from an exceptional vineyard with traditional Burgundian style winemaking. Historically, Pinot Noirs from Aÿ were the most popular wines of the French court, specifically a favorite of King Henri IV, and La Côte aux Enfants comes from a steep plot just outside of the village. This wine is the purest expression of Pinot Noir, offering a fine, delicate texture in the mouth, and a tautness giving it a beautifully long finish.