Bollinger Grande Annee Brut Champagne 1999
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
The grapes come exclusively from Grands and Premiers Crus. 17 villages have entered in the 1999 blend, 82% from Grands Crus and 18% from Premiers Crus. The blend of La Grande Année 1999 is composed of 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay.
La Grande Année is the Prestige Cuvée of Champagne Bollinger. It is only produced when exceptional quality harvests occur, and is the expression of Bollinger's know-how. More than the illustration of the vintage particularity, La Grande Année is the result of the Bollinger style, of its exceptional "terroir" and traditional wine making techniques. La Grande Année develops a beautiful rounded structure and combines rich, complex and intense aromas, the expression of which changes according to the characteristics of the vintage.
Wine Enthusiast - "With this vintage, there are signs of a wine that is maturing fast. That’s the initial impression. But at the same time, there are wonderful dry fruits, minerality and sweet hazelnuts, all finely in balance. The layers get more complex, bringing in toast as well as acidity. Almost ready, but worth aging."
Wine Spectator - "A beautiful Champagne, from the complex floral-, coffee- and brioche-scented nose to the graphite, vanilla and citrus flavors. Light-weight and intense, with a lively structure and a long, lingering finish. Drink now through 2018. 2,500 cases imported."
Wine & Spirits - "Vibrant complexity drives this wine, one of the best from the 1999 vintage. The spice, leather and green fruit aromas hold its energy, while cool, earthy limestone grounds that tension, compacts it into powerful mineral flavors. As muscular as that structure may be, it’s beautifully balanced by the natural sweetness and freshness of the fruit—like the sweet pea and lima bean character of grüner veltliner. This has come a long way since we tasted it last year, and shows exceptional potential for further aging."
International Wine Cellar - "Pale straw. Vibrant, exotically perfumed bouquet evokes fresh pear and nectarine, with a wild spicecake quality adding complexity. Cinnamon-accented orchard fruit flavors are strikingly precise and palate-coating. Delivers outstanding concentration and finesse and finishes with superb persistence."
The Wine Advocate - "The 1999 La Grande Annee is a refined, elegant wine with pretty, exotic notes of apricots, peaches, honey, flowers, smoke and toasted oak. There is notable clarity and precision, in a style that is generous and approachable. The 1999 La Grande Annee is 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay, of which 82% came from grand cru vineyards while 18% came from premier cru sites spanning a total of 16 villages. The wine was aged in oak and dosage was 7-9 grams. This bottle was disgorged in July, 2007. I also tasted the February, 2008 disgorgement which showed a more opulent, quality that I found utterly sensual and irresistible. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2014."
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com - "Pale gold hue with an active bead. Shy, buttery aromas with hints of cream and caramel. Rich tart tatin flavors highlighted by opulent peach and cream notes. Lengthy, enjoyable finish displays elegance as well as staying power."
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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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