Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée
"The complexity and richness of Special Cuvée is unparalleled...Triumphant complexity is a given at Bollinger, but it's the dynamic freshness and vitality that really set it apart as one of the most affordable Champagne benchmarks." - Decanter-Brut NV, Champagne, France
Bollinger is an icon in Champagne, all the more remarkable because its reputation rests entirely on the quality of its extraordinarily distinct Champagnes. Very simply, Bollinger is the outlier. The rigorous, obsessive attention to detail and preservation of artisanal, almost absurdly labor-intensive practices, makes Bollinger both a guardian of the past and, as we see with each passing year, the beacon of the future.
Bollinger's NV Special Cuvée knocks it out of the park. Made from 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Meunier, with 30% of the blend brought up in barrels, it boasts a rich, deep, medium to full-bodied style as well as terrific notes of lemon curd, crème brûlée, caramelized stone fruits, and hints of toasty nuttiness that develop with time in the glass. It's a big, rich Champagne that stays balanced and pure. Beautiful stuff.
As always with this producer, this iconic nonvintage cuvée is dominated by Pinot Noir that gives impressive richness as well as ripe stone fruits. Wood fermentation adds further complexity as does the age of this bottling before release. Drink this Champagne now.
Bright, almost crunchy acidity and the finely detailed mousse carry an expressive mix of poached apricot and cherry fruit, toast point, orange peel and ground ginger flavors in this firm, focused Champagne, with a graphite-laced, minerally finish. Drink now through 2022. 12,000 cases imported.
A Champagne in good form, the nose has a playful contradictory nature with complexity that comes from deep within the DNA cast against some very fresh notes - lime citrus, lime leaf, lemon, nectarine, white cherry and deeper more brambly red fruits, plus gentle spices and freshly roasted nuts, all here. The palate has supple, smooth and creamy texture with a flavorsome wrap of fleshy peach and white cherry flavor. Smooth, deep and round, acidity holds fresh right through to the fresh almond finish. Drink now or hold for up to five years.
Disgorged six months ago, the latest rendition of the NV Brut Special Cuvée was bottled in 2015, and while its core derives from the 2014 vintage, it contains fully 60% reserve wines. The wine wafts from the glass with a classic bouquet of apples, pear, walnut oil and clear honey, followed by a medium to full-bodied palate that's broad-shouldered and Pinot Noir-driven, with a pinpoint mousse, nice tension at the core and a delicately chalky finish. Gilles Descotes commented that one of his biggest challenges is finding enough wine raised in wood to make the Special Cuvée in years where Grandé Année is produced-and to that end, Bollinger is significantly expanding its barrel program to ferment even more base wine in used oak.