For this week only I have brought my Wednesday Wines column back a day to coincide with Bollinger’s launch
A preview of 2014 Bollinger’s pair of La Grande Année releases
published midday 8th March 2022
Unfortunately, I am out of the country this week, and so I have missed the face to face launch of this pair of wines in London. Luckily, I have already tasted them, so here are my pure tasting notes. Suffice to say, this will be one of the most exciting Champagne releases of the year, and I expect there to be a lot of action early on, so do speak to your favourite merchants asap to secure your stock.
2014 Bollinger, La Grande Année
A blend of the 2014 vintage – 61% Pinot Noir and 39% Chardonnay; 19 Crus, mainly Verzenay for Pinot Noir and Chouilly and Oiry for Chardonnay. Fermented entirely in oak barrels, 8 g/L dosage.
This is yet another perfectly honed LGA, and there is a vinosity and grandeur here that nods to the flavour impact and depth of R.D, which in itself is a remarkable achievement for this vintage creation. 2014 is a quintessential LGA, and while the colour is pale gold in hue, it has a flavour impact that carries more heft than you might expect, balanced by a certain palate rigidity and extraordinarily energetic acidity that snaps down reliably on the finish. While this is a curiously delicious wine already, there is clearly an enormous amount of potential here for carefully cellared bottles. Having said this, 2014 LGA is already tremendously sexy, and I found myself smelling, tasting, smelling, tasting with metronomic desire, feeding my brain and my palate’s craving for wave after wave of exquisite perfume and flavour. I cannot see the on-trade holding back here as this bottle will be inevitably listed the moment it arrives on the doorstep, but private clients ought to exercise more restraint! Following the flamboyant B13 release last year, 2014 LGA slams back to the classical Bollinger Vintage model with alarming formality and respect this year, and for that, I am grateful. While the world around us eddies and flows with moments of profound joy and also dark sadness, it is immensely reassuring that Bollinger manages to keep our palate on the straight and narrow, reminding us all that plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. 18.5/20 (Drink now – 2035)
2014 Bollinger, La Grande Année Rosé
A blend of the 2014 vintage – 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay; 19 Crus, mainly Verzenay for Pinot Noir and Chouilly and Oiry for Chardonnay with 5% Côte des Enfants red wine. Fermented entirely in oak barrels, 8 g/L dosage.
Something is thrilling about Bolly Rosé. The NV is a towering wine that glowers over its competitors with its broad shoulders and red wine intensity, and this vintage wine is an even more stealthy and impactful creation. 2014 LGA Rosé is so confident, so proud, and so swaggering that it takes a run-up at your palate and crashes through any pretensions and prejudices in just one sip. While the colour is demure, the same cannot be said for the nose and palate. The nose carries as much intrigue and concentration as a well-selected Bonnes Mares. The fruit on the palate is cherry-soaked and indulgent, yet there is nothing overblown or bullying about its delivery. I often use the word ‘swaggering’ about Bollinger’s top wines, but some could read this as having a slight arrogance in its connotation. This wine deserves a more carefully chosen vocabulary, and instead of wine with swagger, please consider this a wine with fearlessness and courage. While you can crack on with the wine above without feeling too guilty, I would suggest that we should all hang on for a couple of years with this rosé. The tension on the finish is admirable, and this beauty deserves to be afforded the time for it to be assimilated into the whole. You can put this magnificent wine up against any sparkling rosé on the planet, and it will come up smiling. It is about as good as it gets, and given that the 2012 is on the market for around the £120-mark, and the price for this 2014 should not be dramatically different, it exposes just how overpriced and ridiculously silly some of the so-called ‘super-cuvée’ rosé Champagnes have become! 19/20 (Drink 2024 – 2040)