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. WK
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. April 2023.
Plenty of pie-crust and bread-dough aromas with lemon and apple tart. Flint as well. Medium to full body with a creamy texture and lovely elegance. It was a difficult vintage, but this came out nicely. Contrastive. Crisp at the end, even though the mid-palate is fruity. 61% pinot noir and 39% chardonnay. All fermented in barrel. 7 g/l dosage. Drink now. August 2023.
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.
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. AF
This is an intriguing combination of a sunny year's forward fruitiness and the freshness of a late September harvest. There is a charming reserve to the cool nose, which has plentiful orchard fruit but also vanilla and yeasty and spicy tones from oak and bottle ageing. The gentle oaky note stays stylishly in the background. There is some volume on the lace-textured palate, but this wine plays much less on concentration and weight than we are used to with La Grande Année. Instead, its finest feature is the sensation of minerality and finesse. Disgorged 10/21; dosage 8g/lThis is an intriguing combination of a sunny year's forward fruitiness and the freshness of a late September harvest. There is a charming reserve to the cool nose, which has plentiful orchard fruit but also vanilla and yeasty and spicy tones from oak and bottle ageing. The gentle oaky note stays stylishly in the background. There is some volume on the lace-textured palate, but this wine plays much less on concentration and weight than we are used to with La Grande Année. Instead, its finest feature is the sensation of minerality and finesse. Disgorged 10/21; dosage 8g/l. August 2022.
'The 2014 is very closely linked to the cold vintages, which express the characteristics of the different terroirs, the soil, and therefore the minerality,’ explains Denis Bunner, assistant cellarmaster at Bollinger. ‘This is a vintage of contrasts, with one of the hottest Junes in the last 50 years, but a very cool August, resulting in slow ripening. We harvested from 15 September, for two weeks, which makes it one of our shortest harvests. The most important thing for us was to manage the ripeness in order to obtain the best possible sorting window.’ A blend of 61% Pinot Noir and 39% Chardonnay, this 2014 La Grande Année is from 19 villages, all grands and premiers crus, with 23% coming from Verzenay and 18% from Aÿ. It was aged for six months in small barrels. It has fresh and distinctive notes of lemon, herbs, red berries and gooseberries, and a splendid calcareous frame. The palate is mineral, tense and elegant with a dense structure, a perfectly balanced texture, fine bubbles, and a lingering finish. ‘It presages a future RD (récemment dégorgé or recently disgorged) in the years to come,’ said Denis Bunner. Dosage: 8 g/L. Disgorged: April 2020.Yohan Castaing. March 2022.
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