Bollinger Grande Annee Brut Champagne 2004
Vintage from Champagne, France
The delicate blush and old gold colors of the 2004 La Grande Annee are a sign of maturity and of Bollinger's winemaking skills. Its aromas are a testimony to the barrels it's aged in: toasted bread and brandied fruit, plus notes of exotic spices, rhubarb and stone fruit. The bubbles are powerful yet soft and there is remarkable structure and length on the palate.
Blend: 66% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay
Wine Enthusiast - "A blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay, this is opulent and full bodied, with toast and wood flavors. Rich and ripe, this beautiful wine is generous and still young, with just a touch of bitterness at the end. Cellar Selection."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "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."
Wine Spectator - "Firm, with well-cut acidity and a fine texture, this is aromatic, delivering a skein of ground spice and graphite notes that mesh seamlessly with the flavors of black currant, black cherry, toasted almond, financier, honey and smoky mineral. Offers a long, mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2024."
International Wine Cellar - "Light, bright gold. Powerful orchard and pit fruit aromas are complemented by smoky lees, iodine, chamomile and buttered toast. At once fleshy and energetic, offering deeply pitched poached pear, peach pit and brioche flavors and a suave floral element. Finishes smoky and very long, with mounting spiciness and lingering floral and vanilla notes. "
The Wine Advocate - "All that having been noted, it is Kaufmann and then-director Ghislain de Montgolfier who can take responsibility for the success that is Bollinger’s 2004 Brut Grande Annee, a bottling that, in marrying the restraint associated with young wines from this house with that of a relatively cool and copious but ultimately fascinating vintage, has rendered a work of subtle intrigue and refinement that will merit a dozen or more years’ attention. Quite pale in color and with unexpectedly green-gold shimmering, this two-thirds Pinot Noir cuvee displays alluringly silken texture and refinement of mousse as well as delicacy. Fresh white peach, yellow tomato, lime, and rhubarb offer subtly tart, brightly juicy succulence, and a mingling of chalk and sweet-saline oyster liquor serves for saliva-inducement in a long finish tinged with lightly toasted grains and nuts. "
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Champagne Bollinger Winery
In 1829, Champagne Bollinger introduced an instantly recognizable, dry, toasty style that connoisseurs around the globe have coveted ever since. Six generations of the Bollinger family have maintained that trademark style, and Bollinger is one of the rare Grande Marque houses to be owned, controlled and managed by the same family since it was founded.
With 399 acres of vineyards situated in the best Grands Crus and Premiers Crus villages, Bollinger relies on its own estate for nearly two-thirds of its grape requirements, including the Pinot Noir that gives its Champagne its distinctive roundness and elegance. Bollinger is one of a select few houses that can control the quality of its grape supply so carefully.
Bollinger is renowned for its stringent quality standards. It adheres to traditional methods, including individual vinification of each marc and cru, barrel fermentation (it is the last Champagne house to employ a full-time cooper) and extra-aging on the lees prior to disgorgement.
Members of the British Royal Court were among the first to embrace Bollinger’s unmistakable quality, and Queen Victoria made Bollinger the exclusive purveyor to the Court by Royal Warrant in 1884. Besides royalty, loyal devotees have included heads of state, celebrities and even famous fictional characters: Agent 007, James Bond, demands the exclusive Champagne Bollinger. View all Champagne Bollinger Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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