63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay
The grapes for the Bollinger La Grande Annee come from a mix of Grand and Premier Cru vineyards in the Champagne region of France. The 1999 is a blend of different 17 villages, of which 82% are from Grand Crus and 18% from Premiers Crus.
Some of Bollinger’s vineyards are home to extremely rare vines that have remained ungrafted since before the phylloxera epidemic.
Phylloxera is an insect that feeds on the roots of grape vines, and almost wiped-out French vineyards in the late 19th century. The only known solution (still to this day) to deal with Phylloxera is to graft vines onto aphid-resistant American rootstock; and so this is what took place on a mass scale throughout European vineyards.
Around 60% of Bollinger’s grape requirements are supplied by its own vineyards. This is extremely significant as the vineyards of Champagne are divided amongst a huge amount of families, with land rights being passed through multiple generations. Very few families are willing to give up their land, and so Champagne houses are left with no other option than to buy from several vineyards.
Don’t EVER be confused for thinking that Champagne can be produced outside of the Champagne region of France. A number of wineries around the world are doing a great job with their sparkling wines using “methode champenoise” (the Champagne method), but there can be no substitution for authentic Champagne.
What we are dealing here is vintage Champagne. It’s certainly an acquired taste. I can’t say I was overly impressed with my first taste of vintage Champagne, but then again, I didn’t understand it.
Considering the age, the Bollinger La Grande Annee 1999 still had plenty of life in it, and was bursting with flavor with complex bright citrus, ripe apple, butterscotch, biscuits, nuts and bready-type yeast notes. Persistent and elegant on the finish. Even though it’s had plenty of time in the bottle already, I would love to taste it again in another 5 years.
Matthew Jukes (Daily Mail wine columnist) was quoted as saying: “La Grande Annee is a joint-venture between God and Bollinger”.
Pair it with whatever you bloody want. I have a hard time believing this wine will do damage to anything it’s paired with! I’m of the first belief that Champagne is one of the most food friendly wines available!
Average retail is around $130, and availability is limited to various online retailers, and very few select “brick-and-mortar” retailers.Reviews and tagged Bollinger, Bollinger La Grande Annee 1999, Champagne, Chardonnay, France, Grande Annee, James Bond, Madame Lily Bollinger, Phylloxera, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir. Bookmark the permalink. ← Listen to Your Heart! Michel Rolland Turns Wine To Water in Africa →