The 94-point 2007 Champagne Bollinger La Grande Année is a proud example of why maison Bollinger deserves its sterling reputation. Wine Spectator lauds this “Highly Recommended” bubbly as “firm and focused,” and James Suckling’s praise hints at what sets Bollinger apart: “Deep flavors are delivered in a generous and sweeping texture, with a toasty rise at the finish.” The wine’s gorgeous breadth testifies to Bollinger’s unique approach: No other house in Champagne produces all of its own barrels, and the 2007 La Grande Année, consisting of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, is completely barrel-fermented. It is then bottled, corked, and aged on the lees for more than double the three years required of vintage Champagne: a stunning seven years! No wonder it is James Bond’s Champagne of choice. An awe-inspiring depth of flavor is the reward of this zen-like patience, which stands out even in the painstaking world of top-quality Champagne. Fortunately, no patience whatsoever is required of Wine Access clients.
In a world where you can’t go a week without reading about some massive conglomerate snapping up another luxury brand, Champagne Bollinger is an outlier. Born in 1829 of a partnership between the Bollinger, Renaudin, and de Villermont families, the house has never given up its independence: It was only a decade ago when Bollinger first allowed a non-family member to run the firm.
It was Lily Bollinger who took charge of the company in 1941, expanding its vineyard holdings and tirelessly promoting the brand. Despite the fact that Bollinger enjoys wild popularity in the U.K. and has made appearances in James Bond films dating back to 1973, it still swims a bit below the commercial mainstream in the States. For those who desire an incredibly complex vintage Champagne at well below the price point of Krug, Cristal, and other top têtes de cuvée, that’s a very good thing, and Bollinger is right in the pocket.