It’s not every day one is asked to make a top 100-list om the best champagnes of the year that has passed. List like this often are based on champagnes that has been dugged out of the depth of some collectors wine cellar.
I was especially happy with the 1979 Bollinger ‘Vieilles Vignes Françaises’ during an after-finner tasting in November last year.
This is one of those rare gems that You very seldom stumble upon. Our friends at Clos & Crus offer it at the moment @ 780 GBP per bottle ex vat.
‘Amazing! The same impression on the two occasions I tried the wine. Remarkable finesse and acidic elegance despite the wine is brimming with heavy, creamy super Pinot and mouth-watering deliciously orchestrated deep flavor layers.’
Richard Juhlin on 1979 Bollinger ‘Vieilles Vignes Françaises’ – 99(99) RJpoints
RJ ON BOLLINGER Joseph Bollinger was the German from Würtemberg who founded this ancient house in 1829. The French called him simply “Jacques.” The firm’s large estates in the best Pinot villages were bought by his sons Georges and Joseph, and in 1918 it was time for the next Jacques to take over the property. He became the mayor of Aÿ, but died during the German occupation at the age of forty-seven. The most colorful person in the history of the house is his widow, Lily Bollinger, who kept a watchful eye on every bunch of grapes by cycling through the vineyards regularly. Her rigorous demands for quality still run through the house to this day. Now Bollinger is run by Jérôme Philipon, who control over 144 hectares, providing 70 percent of the grape supply. The winemaker today is Gilles Descôtes. Besides the house’s exceptional vineyards, they also use very expensive vinification methods. All the vintage wines are fermented in small, aged oak barrels and are never filtered. Malolactic fermentation—which would probably take place very late in the process—is not encouraged either. The reserve wines are stored at low pressure in magnums. Bollinger make the heaviest and most full-bodied champagnes of any house, and their wines always have a smoky and hazelnut-y complexity that is very hard to beat.All wines highly recomended.
‘The vintage wines are among the very best, but the question is whether the rare and fantastic Vieilles Vignes Françaises, made with grapes from non-grafted Pinot vines, can reach even greater heights.’