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Bollinger 'Vieilles Vignes Francaises' Champagne 2007


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In the early 20th century, the vines of Champagne were destroyed by phylloxera. In order to fight the devastating insect, everything had to be replanted using American rootstock. Everything, except two Bollinger plots in Ay classified as Grand cru which remained untoucheDecanter: Chaudes Terres and Clos St Jacques. To this day, these two plots are grown the traditional way, following the ‘provignage’ method, worked by hand and even sometimes with the help of a cart-horse. Bollinger ‘Vieilles Vignes Francaises’ (‘French Old Vines’) is a symbol of a bygone era: an extraordinary and moving legacy. Only about 3,000 bottles are produced on the best years.   The pinot-based fruit underlying this wine is in evidence because there is an abundance of citrus, baked bread and floral characters that include rose and acacia blossom scents on the utterly transfixing nose, there are also background wisps of various red berry nuances. There is a wonderful and beguiling texture to strikingly complex, intense and vibrant flavors that possess a highly refined mouth feel thanks to the ultra-fine bead of the supporting mousse that shapes the focused and gorgeously long finale that is agreeably dry but not really austere. I was knocked out not only but the texture but also the imposing depth and while these two elements render the ’07 VVF approachable, it’s clear that this should generously repay extended keeping. In short, this is a genuinely great effort.   Richard Juhlin: 98Pts; Allen MeadoWine Spectator: 97Pts; Vinous: 94Pts; Jancis Robinson: 19/20Pts  


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Sparkling wine

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The Bollinger champagne House has created prestigious champagnes with character, distinguished by their elegance and complexity, since 1829. These outstanding wines are the result of rigorous attention to detail, for Bollinger accepts nothing less than excellence. Each and every detail represents a quest for a certain form of perfection. This uncompromisingly independent spirit, dedicated to ostentatious achievement, exemplifies the inimitable elegance for which the Champagne region is renowned and which has so impressed the Court of England that the House has been awarded the Royal Warrant since 1884.

The House’s 178 hectares are planted with 85% of Grand Cru and Premier Cru vines, spread over seven main vineyards: Aÿ, Avenay, Tauxieres, Louvois et Verzenay are planted with Pinot Noir, Cuis with Chardonnay and Champvoisy with Pinot Meunier. Bollinger is one of a very few champagne Houses to produce the majority of their own grapes for their blends.

Pinot Noir represents 60% of the House’s vineyard, corresponding to the exact proportion of this demanding grape variety in the Special Cuvee blend. Complex and powerful, it provides Bollinger wines with their remarkable structure. Another of Bollinger’s distinctive features are two plots, the Clos Saint-Jacques and Chaudes Terres, which have never succumbed to phylloxera, the disease which ravaged almost all of the champagne wine-growing area in the early 20th century. These ungrafted vines are entirely tended by hand and reproduced using a form of layering called provignage, thereby providing the means to preserve this extraordinary heritage from which the very exclusive Vieilles Vignes Francaises cuvee is produced.

Since 2011, Maison Bollinger is certified High Environmental Value (HEV) corresponds to the highest level of a more general scheme of environmental certification for farms & vineyards. The environmental certification is a voluntary approach which aims to identify and promote particularly environmentally-friendly practices applied by growers. HEV covers four key areas: biodiversity conservation, plant protection strategy, management of fertiliser use and management of water.

In order to engage the whole agricultural sector in an approach focused on environmental progress, it is designed on the basis of certification of the whole farm at three levels. The third or "high environmental value" level is based on performance indicators. Farm certification, which enables farmers to label their products with a value statement "from farms certified as having high environmental value", guarantees a farm's high level of environmental performance.

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