The 1999 La Grande Annee is a refined, elegant wine with pretty, exotic notes of apricots, peaches, honey, flowers, smoke and toasted oak. There is notable clarity and precision, in a style that is generous and approachable. The 1999 La Grande Annee is 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay, of which 82% came from grand cru vineyards while 18% came from premier cru sites spanning a total of 16 villages. The wine was aged in oak and dosage was 7-9 grams. This bottle was disgorged in July, 2007. I also tasted the February, 2008 disgorgement which showed a more opulent, quality that I found utterly sensual and irresistible. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2014.
Under the direction of Chef de Caves Mathieu Kauffmann, Bollinger produces one of the most consistent lineups in Champagne.Bollinger is one of the handful of larger firms that manages to put out consistently high quality wines despite its size. This estate based in Ay is probably best known to the public through its long association with the James Bond films, which is quite possibly one of the most successful product placement campaigns of all time. Despite the show biz glamor that has inextricably become part of the Bollinger mystique, at their best these are serious wines with significant aging potential. The low-dosage R.D. (recently-disgorged) series can be tremendous, and the Vielles Vignes Francaises, made from pre-phylloxera Pinot Noir vines, is one of Champagne's most exotic bottlings. The estate favors neutral oak barrels for the aging of its top wines. One of the most unique aspects of this estate is that the reserve wines are aged in magnum, rather than in tank, which is the prevailing custom in the region. Bollinger's back labels are quite informative, but it would be nice to see disgorgement dates as well on the non-vintage wines.