Wednesday Wines – Episode 205A – A Double Bill of Bollinger & Henschke

LAUNCHED TODAY – 2015 La Grande Année Duo

UK Bollinger agents Mentzendorff have nominated the following stockists – www.bbr.com, www.amathusdrinks.com, www.leaandsandeman.co.uk, www.brunswickfinewines.com, www.nickollsandperks.com, www.dbmwines.com, www.bordeauxindex.com

LGA 2015

2015 Bollinger, La Grande Année, Champagne, France 2015 (approx. £175.00)

The Facts

Blend: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay.

11 Crus: predominantly from Verzenay, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur Aÿ for Pinot Noir; Chouilly and Avize for Chardonnay.

Oak: 100%-barrel fermentation.

Dosage: 8 grams per Litre.

Technique: Riddled and disgorged by hand.

My thoughts – This statesmanlike wine starts with a broad, welcoming nose crammed with ripe orchard fruit notes and bold brioche tones.  Oak is evident from every angle, and it arrives first on the palate, too, like a standard bearer walking ahead of a royal carriage.  Rigid on the flanks and between these oak buttresses, there is luxurious lemon cake and nougat in its core.  This is a rich, (very) ripe, and regal wine with serious structure and presence, and it needs a couple more years to truly settle into its stride.  One thing is certain – this is a quintessential La Grande Année, designed to stamp its authority on your wine memory in true Bollinger fashion.  18.5+/20 (Drink now – 2038)

LGA Rosé 2015

2015 Bollinger, La Grande Année Rosé, Champagne, France 2015 (approx. £225.00)

The Facts

Blend: 62% Pinot Noir, 38% Chardonnay with 5% red wine from La Côte aux Enfants.

11 Crus: predominantly from Verzenay, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur Aÿ for Pinot Noir; Chouilly and Avize for Chardonnay.

Oak: 100%-barrel fermentation.

Dosage: 7 grams per Litre.

Technique: Riddled and disgorged by hand.

My thoughts – Interestingly, this is a similarly shaped wine to the ‘white’ above (it shares approximately 95% of its DNA), but it is gentler, more penetrating, and extraordinarily plush.  Undoubtedly, the key to this impressive Champagne’s success is its red wine component.  Thinking back to 2015, it was a particularly warm vintage that yielded beautifully smooth and fruit-forward red wines.  Ripe, red cherry-soaked and amazingly refined, this is an incredible LGA Rosé, and it underlines just how important it is to have impeccable red wine to eye-dropper into a lusty base wine in order for any genuine magic to happen.  All the stars aligned in 2015 La Grande Année Rosé making this a powerhouse of a vintage rosé.  19+/20 (Drink now – 2040)