Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Merrill Lindquist
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 10940
Joined: July 22nd, 2009, 6:58 pm
Location: Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA

Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#1 Post by Merrill Lindquist » October 21st, 2019, 3:52 pm

I was fortunate to be invited to an exquisite event at Le Papillon Restaurant in San Jose. There were about 24 invitees, and as far as I could tell, I was the only one jotting notes! It was assigned seating, and I was fortunate to be seated next to the US representative of Bollinger. She was lovely, articulate, and knew just how much to say about each wine so that the social aspect of the dinner was not interrupted.

Briefly:

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee was served as a greeter, along with a wonderful assortment of Hors d'Oeuvres. A very nice wine.

2008 Bollinger Brut Champagne La Grande Annee - to me, acidic up front, but opening to a nice brioche. This wine varied most in the glass through the evening. The rep said it was extremely limited production. Served with scallop crudo.

Bollinger Brut Rose Champagne - a gorgeous floral bouquet and lovely bubbles. An addition of 5% still red wine is added. Served with slow poached lobster with braised leeks. Fantastic pairing.

2007 Brut Rose Champagne La Grande Annee - just an outstanding wine. Just as the Rose above but elevated. I believe the rep said it represents less than 1% of the wines they produce. Served with Grilled quail and chestnut agnolotti. My wine of the night, for sure.

Bollinger 007 - 100% Pinot from the 2011 vintage. We were the first group in CA to taste this unique wine. The presentation is something else. Upon opening the box, the bottle lifts itself up. Perhaps I had too much wine! Served with squab, golden raisin puree and matsutake mushrooms.

2007 Bollinger Brut Champagne Blanc de Noirs Vielles Vignes Francaise. I did not "get" this wine. I turned my first pour back because it tasted oxidized to me. The pour from a new bottle was better, but honestly, it was not special to me. I think she said only 90 bottles were imported to the US. Served with New Zealand Red Deer and Alba white truffle. Desserts followed.
Merrill
EMH Vineyards - Home of the Black Cat
email:Merrill@EMHVineyards.com

Shay_A
Posts: 59
Joined: March 24th, 2016, 3:49 pm
Location: Fort Worth, TX

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#2 Post by Shay_A » October 21st, 2019, 4:41 pm

I find their ‘08 La Grande Anne to be just a wonderfully priced vintage champagne from such a spectacular vintage.
Shay Aldriedge

pnitze
Posts: 71
Joined: February 13th, 2012, 7:32 am

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#3 Post by pnitze » October 21st, 2019, 5:55 pm

Thanks for these notes. The VVF is a fascinating champagne and can occasionally be spectacular (the 1996 being the example that comes to mind). The problem is that it does not even come close to warranting it’s price, IMO. I’m sure Bollinger has little difficulty selling it, but it is odd to me that in almost every vintage it’s not the best wine they make. Their RD is a better wine in every vintage since 1996 when they have released both the RD and the VVF. I understand that the RD and VVF are entirely different wines vis cepage and blending, but I can’t think of another champagne producer for which their top wine by price is consistently their second or third best wine by quality. Maybe Krug? I haven’t tasted enough Ambonnay to know, but in my limited experience Ambonnay is an amazing wine, so I don’t think that’s a great comparison.
P@ul N!tze

User avatar
K_F_o_l_e_y
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1256
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 10:36 am
Location: Boston, MA USA

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#4 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » October 21st, 2019, 9:22 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 3:52 pm
It was assigned seating, and I was fortunate to be seated next to the US representative of Bollinger. She was lovely, articulate, and knew just how much to say about each wine so that the social aspect of the dinner was not interrupted.
Merrill, sounds like a fun dinner. I've never had the VVF, but I enjoy Tarlant's equivalent (IIRC these are the only two non-greffee champagnes that are made, or at least they used to be).

I'm curious how she pronounced the house name? I've always been taught it is correctly pronounced in the German, not the English or French way. But I've heard reps who switch from English to French pronunciation, unpredictably.
Cheers,
/<evin


"Ah! Dull-witted mortal, if Fortune stands still, she is no longer Fortune."
~ Boëthius, in Consolation of Philosophy

User avatar
K John Joseph
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 7391
Joined: June 8th, 2011, 11:55 am
Location: Dallas

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#5 Post by K John Joseph » October 22nd, 2019, 7:36 am

I have struggled with recent vintages of GA showing very oxidative notes on release. Sounds like the VVF was there, but the 2008 GA was not. Did you notice a heavier, oxidative profile on any of the wines other than the VVF?
J0hn-J-K4ne

User avatar
Neal.Mollen
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 33998
Joined: January 30th, 2009, 1:26 pm

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#6 Post by Neal.Mollen » October 22nd, 2019, 7:45 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 3:52 pm
I was fortunate to be invited to an exquisite event at Le Papillon Restaurant in San Jose. There were about 24 invitees, and as far as I could tell, I was the only one jotting notes! It was assigned seating, and I was fortunate to be seated next to the US representative of Bollinger. She was lovely, articulate, and knew just how much to say about each wine so that the social aspect of the dinner was not interrupted.

Briefly:

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee was served as a greeter, along with a wonderful assortment of Hors d'Oeuvres. A very nice wine.

2008 Bollinger Brut Champagne La Grande Annee - to me, acidic up front, but opening to a nice brioche. This wine varied most in the glass through the evening. The rep said it was extremely limited production. Served with scallop crudo.

Bollinger Brut Rose Champagne - a gorgeous floral bouquet and lovely bubbles. An addition of 5% still red wine is added. Served with slow poached lobster with braised leeks. Fantastic pairing.

2007 Brut Rose Champagne La Grande Annee - just an outstanding wine. Just as the Rose above but elevated. I believe the rep said it represents less than 1% of the wines they produce. Served with Grilled quail and chestnut agnolotti. My wine of the night, for sure.

Bollinger 007 - 100% Pinot from the 2011 vintage. We were the first group in CA to taste this unique wine. The presentation is something else. Upon opening the box, the bottle lifts itself up. Perhaps I had too much wine! Served with squab, golden raisin puree and matsutake mushrooms.

2007 Bollinger Brut Champagne Blanc de Noirs Vielles Vignes Francaise. I did not "get" this wine. I turned my first pour back because it tasted oxidized to me. The pour from a new bottle was better, but honestly, it was not special to me. I think she said only 90 bottles were imported to the US. Served with New Zealand Red Deer and Alba white truffle. Desserts followed.
Very interesting notes. It is odd that the 08 Grand Annee is "extremely limited production." It is their primary vintage champagne I thought. Haven't had the 08 but have loved the win in past vintages. And I absolutely agree about the 07 rose. Sensational wine.
I don't have to speak; she defends me

A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one

User avatar
Merrill Lindquist
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 10940
Joined: July 22nd, 2009, 6:58 pm
Location: Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#7 Post by Merrill Lindquist » October 22nd, 2019, 8:29 am

K John Joseph wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 7:36 am
I have struggled with recent vintages of GA showing very oxidative notes on release. Sounds like the VVF was there, but the 2008 GA was not. Did you notice a heavier, oxidative profile on any of the wines other than the VVF?
No, not at all.
Merrill
EMH Vineyards - Home of the Black Cat
email:Merrill@EMHVineyards.com

User avatar
R@y.Tupp@+sch
Posts: 2628
Joined: February 19th, 2009, 8:22 am

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#8 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » October 22nd, 2019, 8:29 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 7:45 am
It is odd that the 08 Grand Annee is "extremely limited production." It is their primary vintage champagne I thought.
I don't recall the exact production numbers, but while the volume is less in 2008 compared to other vintages, I think the rep's statement is a bit hyperbolic.
Killer, Staggering, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor ®

User avatar
Merrill Lindquist
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 10940
Joined: July 22nd, 2009, 6:58 pm
Location: Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#9 Post by Merrill Lindquist » October 22nd, 2019, 8:37 am

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 9:22 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 3:52 pm
It was assigned seating, and I was fortunate to be seated next to the US representative of Bollinger. She was lovely, articulate, and knew just how much to say about each wine so that the social aspect of the dinner was not interrupted.
Merrill, sounds like a fun dinner. I've never had the VVF, but I enjoy Tarlant's equivalent (IIRC these are the only two non-greffee champagnes that are made, or at least they used to be).

I'm curious how she pronounced the house name? I've always been taught it is correctly pronounced in the German, not the English or French way. But I've heard reps who switch from English to French pronunciation, unpredictably.
Bo-lin-j. (French "ger" with no r pronounced. Most like "jay" with a soft a and soft j.
Merrill
EMH Vineyards - Home of the Black Cat
email:Merrill@EMHVineyards.com

User avatar
A. So
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2872
Joined: July 19th, 2011, 7:58 pm

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#10 Post by A. So » October 22nd, 2019, 9:02 am

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 9:22 pm
Merrill, sounds like a fun dinner. I've never had the VVF, but I enjoy Tarlant's equivalent (IIRC these are the only two non-greffee champagnes that are made, or at least they used to be).
At least N Maillart, Bereche, and Chartogne Taillet also make champagne from ungrafted vines.
エaイdドrリiアaンn (93 pts.)

User avatar
K_F_o_l_e_y
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1256
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 10:36 am
Location: Boston, MA USA

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#11 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » October 22nd, 2019, 9:11 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 8:37 am
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 9:22 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 3:52 pm
It was assigned seating, and I was fortunate to be seated next to the US representative of Bollinger. She was lovely, articulate, and knew just how much to say about each wine so that the social aspect of the dinner was not interrupted.
Merrill, sounds like a fun dinner. I've never had the VVF, but I enjoy Tarlant's equivalent (IIRC these are the only two non-greffee champagnes that are made, or at least they used to be).

I'm curious how she pronounced the house name? I've always been taught it is correctly pronounced in the German, not the English or French way. But I've heard reps who switch from English to French pronunciation, unpredictably.
Bo-lin-j. (French "ger" with no r pronounced. Most like "jay" with a soft a and soft j.
Interesting. There are multiple YouTube videos from Bollinger themselves, that pronounce it differently. But even a French-born rep was switching back and forth in the same conversation. Often businesses succumb to what their customers want, even if it is wrong (for example, Porsche, which Americans uniformly mispronounce, and even some of the company's American commercials have done so too).

I wonder if anyone has a recording of Madame Bollinger herself actually pronouncing her own name? I'm a great believer in pronouncing things the way the natives pronounce them, but we violate that more often than not in the US.

I'm going to France in a few months, and may stop off in Champagne just to answer this question lol!
Cheers,
/<evin


"Ah! Dull-witted mortal, if Fortune stands still, she is no longer Fortune."
~ Boëthius, in Consolation of Philosophy

User avatar
K_F_o_l_e_y
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1256
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 10:36 am
Location: Boston, MA USA

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#12 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » October 22nd, 2019, 9:14 am

A. So wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 9:02 am
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 9:22 pm
Merrill, sounds like a fun dinner. I've never had the VVF, but I enjoy Tarlant's equivalent (IIRC these are the only two non-greffee champagnes that are made, or at least they used to be).
At least N Maillart, Bereche, and Chartogne Taillet also make champagne from ungrafted vines.
Good to know. It's been a decade since I stocked up on Tarlant La Vigne d'Antan (my favorite Champagne name!), since the price has gone through the roof. Down to my last bottle, and I was actually thinking about taking it to a HSS dinner tonight. But at that time there were only Tarlant and Bollinger.
Cheers,
/<evin


"Ah! Dull-witted mortal, if Fortune stands still, she is no longer Fortune."
~ Boëthius, in Consolation of Philosophy

User avatar
Er€z _ L.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 884
Joined: September 21st, 2013, 11:05 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Champagne Bollinger Dinner - brief notes

#13 Post by Er€z _ L. » October 22nd, 2019, 10:15 am

Sounds like a fun tasting! Thank you for sharing the notes and updating the status of the '07. I will need to revisit the 2007 La Grande Annee. I tasted it about a year ago and it was very promising but very young. I will set time to open it along side the La Grande Annee Rose 2004. champagne.gif
£ € n c n @ r

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”