2008 Bollinger Grande Annee
This 99 Pointer from the A+ 2008 Vintage Delivers the Goods!
Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JD
Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JD
Bollinger’s 2008 La Grande Année is superb, wafting from the glass with aromas of crisp orchard fruit, ripe lemons, honeycomb, warm biscuits, dried white flowers and a delicate top note of walnuts and fino sherry. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a beautifully refined mousse, superb concentration at the tightly wound core, incisive acids and a supremely elegant intermingling of Bollinger’s oxidative stylistic signatures with fresh, vibrant fruit. The finish is long, precise and chalky. This is a Grande Année built for the cellar—the real excitement will come with a bit more bottle age—but this is already a thrilling Champagne in the making. Finished with eight grams per liter dosage, it was disgorged by hand in July 2018. This is also the first vintage of Grande Année to be bottled in Bollinger’s new narrower-necked 1846 bottle, which should make for a slower evolving wine.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97+ RP
Bollinger’s 2008 Grande Année is rich, ample and full-bodied, with all of the pedigree of the vintage on display. Dried pear, dried flowers, chamomile, red plum and mint develop as the 2008 shows the breadth and creaminess that are such signatures of the Bollinger house style. A whole range of brighter, more floral and chalky notes appear later, adding translucence and energy. The 2008 is 71% Pinot Noir and 29% Chardonnay taken across 18 crus, and it is the Pinot that very much informs the wine in both flavor and texture. More importantly, the 2008 is one of the best Grande Années I can remember tasting. Bollinger fans won’t want to miss it. Disgorged November 2018. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.
Antonio Galloni | 97 AG
Gilles Descôtes blends this from 18 crus, pinot noir making up 71 percent of the blend (mostly from Aÿ and Verzenay), the balance from chardonnay (focused on Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant). The base wine ferments in oak barrels, adding to this Champagne’s concentrated power. Its dark intensity has the coolness of Bollinger’s deep aging cellars, even as the wine sustains delicate notes of wildflowers, morels and the perfumed grace of pinot noir. Massive and still youthful, the flavors rounded into a sphere, this is a wine to cellar. Vintus, Pleasantville, NY
Wine & Spirits | 97 W&S
Enticing hints of toasted cumin, ground anise and graphite waft from the glass of this harmonious, mouthwatering version, accenting the finely meshed flavors of crushed black currant, poached apricot, grilled nut and lemon curd. The texture shows a lovely viscosity, extending the flavor range, which expands on the lasting finish. Disgorged June 2018. Drink now through 2033. 833 cases imported.
Wine Spectator | 96 WS
Pinot Noir, mainly from Aÿ and Verzenay, dominates the blend here (71%). Only the free-run juice is used for the fermentation in cask. After ageing under cork for more than nine years, it was disgorged with a dosage of 8g/L. The impression is youthful and fresh, with bright apple and spice notes and a hint of buttered toast. The texture is creamy and dense but very lively and very long. This is superb wine that will age for decades to come. (Drink between 2021-2041)
Decanter | 96 DEC
A wonderfully elegant, pure and airy nose is beautifully layered with its pretty array of green apple, pear, white flower, rose petal, yeast and plenty of citrus elements. The elegance continues on the racy and intense flavors that are supported by a very fine mousse that imparts a lilting mouth feel to the notably dry, crisp and strikingly complex finale. This is an absolute knockout and a wine that should age for a very long time but because the complexity is so impressive, it could actually be enjoyed now. Even so, I will stash my bottles away for at least another 4 to 5 years.
Burghound | 95 BH
This is the producer’s equivalent of a Vintage Champagne. Fermented and aged in wood and then kept for nine years before release, this wine comes from an exceptional vintage that manages to combine ripe fruit and acidity, meaning the wine can age extraordinarily well. Although the wine is just ready, it will be much better from 2022 and for many years after.
Wine Enthusiast | 95 WE
Wine Details for 2008 Bollinger Grande Annee
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: Nothing like a refreshing, vivacious glass of fine Champagne during a hot summer afternoon. Typically combining Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, each Champagne house has a distinct style. Whether you want to sample a single varietal (such as the 100% Chardonnay blanc de blancs) or a tasteful blend, no region can compete with Champagne.
: Proprietary Blend is a general term used to indicate that a wine is comprised of multiple grape varietals which are either “proprietary” to the winery or is blended and does not meet the required maximum or minimum percentage of a particular varietal. This also is the case for the grape’s place of origin, especially for region, appellation or vineyard designated wines. There are endless examples of blended wines which are labeled as “Proprietary Blend” and in conjunction with each region’s stipulated wine laws and regulations makes for a vast blanket for wines to fall into. Perhaps the simplest example is California; if a wine is to be labeled as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is required to have at least 75% of the varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon) and 85% of the fruit must be cultivated from the Napa Valley wine district. If the wine does not meet the requirements, it is then labeled as Proprietary Blend.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: The sharp, biting acidity, cutting through the richness; the explosive force that shatters the bubbles as they rise to the surface; the intense flavor and compelling, lively mouthfeel; these are all hallmarks of a good Champagne. Most wines are made from a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, but there are pure-Chardonnay variants and ones that blend only Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. As a result, most wines come with a feeling of familiarity, if not nostalgia. Each Champagne house has its own unique style, so different bottles of Champagne may not resemble each other outside of the core varietal strengths. The soil composition of the subregion is characterized by belemnite and chalk, which lets it absorb heat during the daytime and release it at night. This terroir helps create the feeling of airy, playful lightness of fine sparkling wine.
These wines were originally marketed towards royalty, and you can feel a hint of that elusive blue-blood elegance and confidence while drinking one. A good Champagne carries you away like a hurricane carries small debris, and you can feel the powerful life force in each bubble even. The characteristic Champagne "pop" has become a staple at parties and celebrations around the globe - when you hear it, good times are right around the corner.