95-97 points, “The 2012 marks the second La Grande Année vintage bottled in the new bottle shape, whose narrow neck is to induce something similar to the magnum effect… On the palate the key word is balance, the wine is very complete with freshness, intensity, refined tension and chalky salinity.” – Essi Avellan MW
95 points, “I love the magical moment when I get the chance, as the first journalist, to lighten the cork of the latest vintage of Bollinger La Grande Année… The scent is beautifully house typical, dominated by apricot, almond, hazelnut and a smoky sophisticated intensity as from a newly lit outdoor fire. The attack is stunningly intense and the weight in the oral cavity leaves nothing left to wish for. Resilient energy and fullness are combined with greatness. Anyone who has patience will be rewarded with truffled flavour layers, chocolate saturated complexity and added exoticism of honeysuckle in the wine’s bouquet.” – Richard Juhlin
95 points, “Full-bodied, deep and muscular… a superb effort and obviously built to age.” – Wine Advocate
94 points, “Vibrant and wonderfully nuanced. Citrus peel, orchard fruit, brioche, dried flowers and chamomile are all finely knit in a Grand Année built on energy and persistence more than size… Best of all, the 2012 will drink well right out of the gate.” – Antonio Galloni, Vinous
93 points, “This is a seductive Grande Année, hard to resist in its youth but far from lacking gravitas and matière to secure a happy development.” – Decanter Magazine
Despite being quite stressful and complicated in the vineyards, 2012 has been described by respected wine critic Jancis Robinson as “an exceptional vintage in Champagne”, particularly for the Pinot Noir that dominates Bollinger’s La Grande Année.
Hailing from 21 Grand and Premier Cru sites, this is a blend of 65% Pinot Noir (mainly from Aÿ and Verzenay) and 35% Chardonnay (from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oiry) that was fermented entirely in oak, aged more than twice as long as required by the appellation, riddled by hand and disgorged manually. Pouring it, you’ll discover notes of panettone flecked with citrus peel, chamomile tea, honeyed granola, dried apricots, marzipan, praline, lemon curd smoky barbequed mushroom, fresh bread spread with creamy salted butter, walnut baklava and crunchy peach. And that’s just tasting it now. This will continue to develop and improve for decades and decades to come. Rich and savoury, but still remarkably fresh. This is the kind of Champagne you can sip throughout a meal, especially if you’re serving wild mushrooms, truffle mash, crustaceans and anything lightly smoked.
Champagne Bollinger was founded in 1829 by Jacques Bollinger, and soon earned a reputation for quality. Under subsequent generations, its reputation has gone from strength to strength, and today it’s one of the most prestigious of all Champagne brands. Stylistically, Bollinger is renowned for its rich and savoury style.