2004 Bollinger, R.D., Extra Brut, Champagne
Official World Launch & Masterclass
22nd March 2018
‘Air Dee not Air Day’
Gilles Descôtes, Cellarmaster, says of ‘04 R.D., “2004 Bollinger R.D. has been aged for more than 13 years in the heart of the House’s cellars in Ay. Disgorged just a few months ago, it finally reveals all the brilliance of the 2004 vintage. This is a generous wine with intense aromas and an incomparable freshness for such age.”
Following below-average annual temperatures and lower than average rainfall (80% less, excepting the end of August), the month of September resulted in a slow and progressive maturation of the grapes in an ideal climate, allowing the development of an intense aromatic expression in the fruit. This forms the backbone to ‘04 R.D. The harvest took place, unhurried, in bright Indian summer conditions. Picked started on 25th September and finished on 8th October.
TIME, BOLD, RARE – only 25 vintages since 1952 (which was launched in 1967)
2004 R.D. (Disgorged November 2017) tasted en magnum
Not surprisingly, everything about this wine is accentuated and demonstrative, visually, aromatically and also, crucially, in sheer flavour complexity terms on the stunning palate. With 3gm/L dosage, this is a thrillingly fresh wine. We tasted three different examples of dosage (0, 3 and 8 grams per litre of sugar) and it was clear that 3 was the most appropriate for this wine. The blend is 66% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay. The colour is very pale gold for an R.D. and given its age, this is a very important sign for the future. Harmonious on the nose and very refreshing and bright on the palate, this is a wine that will appeal to fans of R.D. and also those who might have previously have thought this wine style too imposing and powerful. It is the completeness of this wine which impresses me most. Bollinger is refining all of its wines, from days gone by where the wines could have been marked down for being too muscular and woody. ‘Bollinger-style’ has both very positive and some mildly negative connotations. Today, with the recent vintage releases the wines show true Bollinger style, but with augmented finesse and refinement. 19+/20 drink now – 2040
Looking back to the last release (written up four years ago on this website), here is an update on the ’02 R.D. masterpiece.
2002 R.D. – 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay – highest Chardonnay vintage, looks magnificent with exquisite length and incredible precision. Still extraordinarily tense and fine with an epic length and control. 19.5+/20
Finally, the ‘Air Dee’ quip above refers to Gilles’ pronunciation of R.D. which is a wondrous mix of French and English. I use Ah Dee in the UK and Air Day in France but Gilles, rightly, has his very own Franglais mashup!