Bollinger La Grande Annee Blanc and Rose 2004 simply offer the best value of any of the leading prestige cuvees on the market. In 2004 Bollinger have produced something very special indeed, a must for Champagne collectors and investors. Both the La Grande Annee Rose and Blanc have received unified applause from critics, pitted as one of the wines of the vintage; the former scoring 96 points and the latter 95 from Antonio Galloni.
The first vintage of La Grande Annee Blanc was in 1976, making its screen debut in James Bond’s Casino Royale three decades later. It is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay, aged entirely in barrels, which provides a hugely desirable smoke and toast to the Champagne. Its Price Over Points score when compared to its rivals is magnificent with a score of 36.
Moreover, the 2004 currently offers immense value compared to older vintages, providing a very investable vintage premium.
In fact over the last 36 months the combined average case price of La Grande Annee Blanc 2004, 02, 96, 90 and 85 have risen 30%, this reflects its incredible value for money and the 2004 is one of their greatest ever vintages. If you would like to read more about investing in Champagne please click here.
La Grande Annee Rose is a blend of 68% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay. Madame Bollinger agreed to the production of Bollinger Rose under one condition, that it be extraordinary. It is a unique blend of vintage Champagne and a small parcel from the mythical Cote aux Enfants vineyard, which makes up 5-7% of the overall blend. Bollinger Grande Annee Rose is simply the best value leading prestige rose on the market; £55 a bottle for a 96 point prestige cuvee Rose is extraordinary and while Dom Perignon Rose 2004 has not yet released, the 93 scoring 2003 is almost three times the price. In fact La Grande Annee Rose is priced more competitively then its peers’ Blancs, this is truly remarkable.
In line with the Blanc, the Rose offers an incentive to buy at the beginning of its life-cycle, with older vintages rising in price quickly.
La Grande Annee Blanc and Rose undergo a moderate dosage (adding sugar after disgorgement) of seven to eight grams per litre, they age on their lees in the cellar for over seven years and all vintages are riddled by hand. In their quest for excellence they also rest the Champagne for three to six months after disgorgement and the wine is sealed with natural cork. We have tasted both the Blanc and Rose several times over the last year and they offer incredible fruit concentration, elegance and minerality: they are two of the best Champagnes on the market at the moment and the best priced.
History of Bollinger
Bollinger is one of the last remaining independent Champagne houses, established in 1829 in Ay, by Jacques Bollinger and Paul Renaudin and managed by the family since 1989. The vineyards date back as far as 1585 when they were run by the Hennequins, one of the Bollinger founding families. Bollinger today is still owned by the original founder’s descendants and has never been relocated. The 164 hectares used to make the superb Bollinger wines are cited in the very best position, with Montagne de Reims to the North, the Marne Valley to the South and the Cote de Blancs opposite. Bollinger can also boast that 85% of their vineyards are Grand Cru or Premier Cru and 70% of their grapes come from the Estate’s own vineyards.
The Bollinger style was established based on a predominance in Pinot Noir grapes and is one of the archetypical Champagnes for the very highest standards across their range. In 1884 Bollinger became the official supplier to the British Court, thereby receiving a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. The Estate’s greatest expansion happened under the stewardship of Lily Bollinger, who ran the company between 1941 and 1977, travelling the world to promote the brand. Today the estate is managed by Lily Bollinger’s nephew, Ghislain de Montgolfier. Bollinger is known for producing weighty, muscular and powerful Champagnes.
Bollinger La Grande Annee Blanc 2004, 6×75 – £268 IB or £340.51 incl duty and VAT
Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media – 95
Bollinger’s 2004 Brut La Grand Année is a beautiful wine with a lot of vintage character, but the style is a bit less oxidative than Bollinger fans are likely to expect. Pears, hazelnuts, spices and crushed rocks all flow through to the tense, vibrant finish. It will be interesting to see if the 2004 puts on weight in the bottle, as so many wines from this vintage have. Today, it is bright, linear and quite pretty. Green apples, pears and flowers all add lift on the close. Drink 2014-2029
Bollinger La Grande Annee Rose 2004, 6×75 – £330 IB or £414.91 incl duty and VAT
Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media – 96
The 2004 Brut Rosé La Grande Année is a beautifully focused, vibrant wine endowed with striking minerality and fabulous overall balance. Clean veins of chalkiness run through the fruit in this energetic, taut Rosé, while seductive floral notes linger on the finish. The 2004 is 68% Pinot Noir (including 5% still Pinot) and 32% Chardonnay, 89% from Grand Cru villages and 11% from Premier Crus. The 2004 is very young, but it is going to be nearly impossible to resist. It is a dazzling effort from Bollinger. Disgorged September 2011. Drink 2014-2029
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