The 2014 La Grande Année is stunning. In fact, it is one of the best recent editions I can remember tasting. What comes through most is the wine’s sizzling energy and tension, qualities that aren’t often associated with Bollinger, where the Champagnes tend to show more breadth and volume. In 2014, readers will find a Grande Année built on linear intensity and drive.
The 2014 is a blend taken from 19 villages, 61% Pinot Noir and 39% Chardonnay instead of the more typical 70/30 mix. For the second time in two decades (the first was 2007), Verzenay takes the lead in the Pinots over Aÿ, more or less an inverse from the norm. Verzenay, a north-facing village in the Montagne de Reims that saw less rain than Aÿ and most of the Vallée de la Marne, yields Pinots of energy more than volume. That, married with Chardonnays mostly from the Côtes des Blancs (predominantly Chouilly, Vertus, Oiry and Cramant), results in a truly magical Grande Année that will delight Champagne fans for several decades. I can’t recommend the 2014 highly enough. It’s a total knock-out. Disgorged: April, 2021. Dosage: 8 grams per liter.
61% pinot noir, 39% chardonnay from 19 crus, mainly Aÿ and Verzenay for pinot noir and Chouilly and Oiry for chardonnay; 79% grand crus and 21% premier crus; fermented and aged entirely in oak barrels of around 20 years of age; tiraged under cork; riddled and disgorged by hand; 8g/L dosage; disgorged April 2021.
The 2014 vintage was the product of a year of mixed fortunes. A rainy autumn and winter gave way to two parched, sunny months, of which June was the sunniest in 50 years. Then there was summer, August in particular, when we saw especially cold weather. Fine weather in September made for a notably brief harvest yielding grapes of balanced maturity and acidity.
I love the way in which Champagne’s cooler seasons are captured with articulate detail by a house of such towering amplitude as Bollinger, showcased with ever greater clarity, thanks to its increasingly fanatical attentiveness in the vines and the wines. The cool summer of 2014 played this out in intricate detail to magnificent effect, blessing it first with a bright radiance to its medium straw hue and second to a lead of fantastic energy and freshness. The wonderfully pure red cherries of Verzenay leap forth, backed by the spice of Aÿ and a more incisive lemon and white peach precision than expected from Chouilly and Oiry. Its chalk minerality is likewise heightened, more crystalline and textural than ever, amplifying freshness and stamina, drawing out an incredible finish of pinpoint detail. In the midst of such radiance, the exuberant presence that defines Bollinger rumbles away in great depth through the mid-palate and close, with all the theatrics of mixed spice, fig, dried nectarine and toasted brioche culminating in wonderfully voluptuous texture. A truly great Bollinger by every measure, blessed with incredible longevity, and grand testimony to the wizardry of this house to draw out all the glories of endurance and elegance from a less than simple season.
Racy acidity drives this mouthwatering Champagne, enlivening the rich panoply of flavors. Features a fine and creamy mousse that's still a lively springboard for aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, glazed tangerine, roasted hazelnut, ground coffee, pickled ginger and white blossoms. Long and satiny, with minerally salt and chalk notes gaining momentum on the lasting finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Disgorged July 2021. Drink now through 2037.
With the hallmark Bollinger richness that is derived from fermentation in wood and a high percentage of Pinot Noir in the blend, this grand wine is ripe, full of apple and spice flavors. It is drinkable now, but still young. Keep until 2024.
I belong to the group of people that believes that Bollinger above all shows its greatness in lighter and more elegant vintages as the inherent Pinot-driven masculine power they possess is always sufficient. In the grand generous vintages, one must fight hard to hold back the rumbling force and maintain freshness and sublime details. 2014 is a textbook example in the lighter category. Many champagnes from 2014 are simply too light, vague, and floral in nature, but this does not apply in any way to Bollinger La Grande Année. Here, they have beautifully navigated their way between the grains of the vintage and instead focused on its merits. The champagne is thus clearer and more elegant with a higher proportion of Chardonnay from Chouilly and Oiry than usual to include and embrace the citrusy and floral sides. The extremely intense aroma is otherwise dominated by a marked air of sea breezes, sea urchins, oyster shells, iodine and gunpowder smoke originating from Verzenay. There is also a light note of hazelnut and leather from Aÿ. The combination of these pillars and all complementary villages also gives a delicate fruit with hints of orange citrus, peach, and Mirabelle plum. The aromas come again in the fine and medium-bodied taste with an added note of the finest vanilla and fresh cep in olive oil. Overall, this is an extremely beautiful and complex Bollinger on the finer and more elegant half of the whole. I love how you find new little details in a harmonious simplicity with each new sip. Fascinating and beautiful already, grand as R.D. in 10 years or more and without a doubt one of the vintage's rare hits.
An intriguing combination of a sunny year’s forward fruitiness and late September harvest’s freshness. These characters get further amplified by the high percentage of Chardonnay and important share of cooler profile Verzenay Pinot Noir in the blend. On the nose ripe peach, candied apple and vanilla blend in beautifully with delicate floral and lemony notes as well as mineral iodine whiffs. The gentle oaky note stylishly stays in the background. There is supple volume on the lacey-textured palate, but this wine plays much less on concentration and weight than what we are used to with La Grande Année. Instead its finest feature is the salivating acidity and sensation of minerality that carries the wine until the long, palate-cleansing finish. Already open and pleasurable on the nose, but the palate stands firm with mineral restraint promising longevity. Perfectly dosed at 8g/l. Note for a bottle disgorged in April 2021.
Offering up complex aromas of crisp yellow orchard fruit, confit citrus, frangipane, walnuts, dried white flowers and subtle hints of iodine, Bollinger's 2014 Brut La Grande Année is medium to full-bodied, pillowy and vinous, with an elegantly fleshy core of fruit that's underpinned by racy acids and complemented by a pretty pinpoint mousse. Concluding with a long, chalky finish, this is a charming but precise Grande Année that's more giving and demonstrative than its immediate predecessor, the 2012, but which attains a very similar level of quality in a more challenging vintage—testimony to the serious viticulture that underpins Bollinger's contemporary excellence.
Raised entirely in barrel, the 2014 Champagne La Grande Année Brut is all about finesse and capturing the cool, mineral tension and floral notes of the vintage. Enhancing those qualities, a bit higher proportion of Chardonnay was used for this release, making up 39% of the blend. It pours a pale straw, and it is layered and persistent with lightly toasted pastry, Mirabel plum liqueur, and saline. The palate is dry and more tightly wound at this stage, with driving citrus, a chalky texture, and a light phenolic finish. Subtle undercurrents of honey and butterscotch should continue to evolve beautifully over the coming decades. Drink 2024-2044. Disgorged December 2021, it has 7 grams per liter of dosage.
#1 - TOP 100 WINES OF 2022
#5 - Top 100 Cellar Selections 2022