Since 1829, Bollinger has been producing champagne, with a specific focus on using grapes from its own vineyards (estate grapes account for 60% of the total grape supply), and a heavy use throughout the range of pinot noir, which dominates Bolli’s vineyards. Bollinger’s wines are also fermented in actual barrels, a practice that the winery says has “almost disappeared” from the Champagne region.
While Bollinger has recently been pushing out numerous high-end, vintage-dated releases, today we look at its nonvintage entry-level wines (if you can call them that), one white and one rose.
NV Bollinger Special Cuvee Champagne – 60% pinot noir, 25% chardonnay, and 15% pinot meunier, with 85% of grapes harvested from grand cru and premier cru vineyards. As nonvintage Champagne goes, this is quality through and through. Bold green apple, some brioche, a pinch of yeast — it’s classic Champagne from beginning to end. While a bit bready at times for my tastes, the refreshing dryness ends things on a crisp, acidic note. A- / $49 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]
NV Bollinger Rose Champagne – 62% pinot noir, 24% chardonnay, and 14% pinot meunier, with up to 6% red wine added. 85% of grapes harvested from grand cru and premier cru vineyards. Bright red berries lead the way here, but they fade quickly, falling back on the apple and, here, some lemon notes before sliding gently into those brioche elements so intrinsic in Champagne. The finish is racier and more acidic than the Special Cuvee, lacking any overwhelming yeast notes, instead showing off just a hint of the nuttier elements that I always associate with vintage Bollinger. A / $90 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]