Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee (375ML half-bottle)
A blend par excellence, the Special Cuvée is the purest expression of the Bollinger style; of its craftsmanship and its singular conception of what a champagne should be. It is, therefore, on this wine that the House of Bollinger shows how it is different from other Champagne Houses, asserts its qualitative policy and by which it asks to be judged.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
One of Bollinger’s great assets is a massive stock of reserve wine, including 600,000 magnums held under cork. Gilles Descôtes tends those reserves, working with the blending team to subsume the variations of the current vintage into Bollinger’s Special Cuvée by using a majority of reserve wines in the blend. The result is a rich and harmonious Champagne with deep reserves of flavor. Its substantial, formal structure feels polished, its flavors balancing the cool earthiness of a limestone cave and the sunnier, bright floral notes of fresh cream. Built for food, whether emphasizing the freshness with lobster bisque, or the depth with beef Wellington and chanterelles.
Impressive concentration, freshness and purity here. It's all gently enriched with some savory, autolysis-driven characters. Truly a modern classic! Showing attractive spiced-apple, lemon and pink rose-like florals on the palate, this flows nicely into white-cherry territory with grilled hazelnuts and a core of sorbet-like fleshy peaches and lemons. Great balance.
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.
There's a pleasing, snappy quality to the acidity framing this elegant Champagne, enlivening accessible flavors of currant, Marcona almond and orchard blossom, with a minerally touch of saline-laced oyster shell that lingers on the finish. Drink now through 2022.
Disgorged in the second half of 2019, the latest release of Bollinger's NV Brut Special Cuvée is based on the 2015 vintage, complemented by around 60% reserve wines. The wine is still quite tightly wound after its recent disgorgement, opening in the glass with notes of crisp yellow orchard fruit, freshly baked bread, clear honey and orange peel, with little sign of the nuttiness to come with bottle age. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, muscular and incipiently textural, with a deep core, ripe acids and a pinpoint mousse. This isn't the most incisive vintage of Special Cuvée, but it's powerful and vinous and will have fine gastronomic potential with a little bottle age. Rating: 91+
Bollinger's meaty blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier, with 25% Chardonnay too, seems a bit at odds with its gorgeously elegant bottle silhouette, modelled after the proportions of the house's magnums. But it all comes together when you taste it, the predominantly premier and grand cru grapes working their magic and delivering a full but fresh expression with plenty of appley fruit, cleansing acidity with a lick of lime, and full, briochey aromas.
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.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.