Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut 2002
Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
R.D. (Recently Disgorged) is the result of a great vision of Madame Bollinger, R.D. is a magnification of the very best that the Champagne region's terroirhas to offer. R.D. starts as a Grande Année, the prestige cuvée of Bollinger, and is allowed to mature for an extra 8 to 20 years, sometimes more.
The 2002 Bollinger R.D. displays golden hue with subtle highlights. Aromas of stewed ripe fruit, particularly quince, but also a discreet note of honey. These are followed by roasted notes of cocoa, which give way to flavors of star anise and nutmeg. Full bodied attack. Powerful but well-balanced, with persistent flavor. Mineral finish with touches of lemon revealing a pleasing bitterness.
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
James Suckling - "Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose - plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there's a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavours give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavours, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. Disgorged 22nd October, 2013. Drink from 2016."
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com - "Bollinger R.D. turned out to be my wine of the evening as I tasted a star-studded cast of the world's greatest wines at the 12 Annual Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting. The 2002 became a magical experience when paired with freshly shucked oysters from the Hog Island Oyster Bay Company. R.D. and I became frozen in time while everyone fought to get more wine and posing for selfies. Champagne on the highest of pedestal. James Bond (007) would have been so proud. Deep yellow golden color; delicate and refined mousse; tremendous aroma of creamy apples and subtle citrus, medium to full bodied, layered and satiny smooth on the palate; long and enticing; dry, fine acidity, well balanced; creamy, ripe core fruit flavors, with a special interplay between fruit, earth and oak; long finish, delicate and refined in the aftertaste. (Tasted: October 20, 2015, San Francisco, CA)"
Australian Wine Companion - "A great wine whenever made and released, but few better than '02, appropriate given it marks the 50th birthday of RD (the first '52). It has the two outstanding features of R.D.: complexity and freshness. Pale gold, the bouquet is a cascade of honeyed brioche, spice and exotic fruits, the palate extraordinarily powerful, and staggeringly long, lemon citrus and minerally acidity providing the freshness. Bollinger has remained tightly family owned, but able to match the frenzy of expenditure on press houses and fermentation cellars of the region’s best producers."
Wine & Spirits - "When we tasted the 2002 Grande Année in 2012, I scored it 95 points, impressed by its pale chalk power, its muscularity and the freshness it expressed as a ten-year-old wine. It had the scent of a sunny meadow. With two years of additional time on the lees and a lower dosage, the current R.D. version of that wine is more extreme. If you break it apart you might consider how the barrel-aged base wines from 23 crus intensify the structure, or how the acidity of the vintage has sustained the bright, buzzing freshness of the peach and apple flavors. The fruit seems to be wedded to rock, so strong is the chalk streak of limestone. And yet the resonance of the wine, subsuming any and all of those factors, brings it together in a sumptuous texture, making it a pleasure to drink even now. It’s more sensible, however, to wait. In ten years, this should begin to fulfill its promise, at the start of its prime."
Wine Spectator - "A racehorse of a Champagne, showing ample power in a sleek, harmonious package. This is structured by firm, steely acidity, seamlessly woven with concentrated layers of roast almond, crushed black raspberry, candied kumquat and ginger, fleur de sel and pastry flavors. Mouthwatering, with a lasting, spiced finish. Disgorged October 22, 2013. Drink now through 2030."
Decanter - "A closed, grassy nose at first but underneath there's a restrained beautiful sophistication and youthful charm. Distinct but faint RD tones towards mushroom truffle and mineral saltiness. Slowly booming in the glass and not unlike a young RD 1975, so at some point this wine will breathe sweetest chocalte and nut symphony. "
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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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