Bollinger has also released an iconoclast. B13. An extremely limited wine crafted across five indomitable Crus, half of which is equal parts Äy and Verzenay. The wine is a testimony to the frigid nature of the 2013 vintage and the late harvest that was necessitated through the eye of a needle marked by sleet, snow and frost. It was this slim window of opportunity that Bollinger perceived as one of marginality; extremes and the sort of challenges that demand courage. For it is these qualities that define the world’s very greatest wines. Aged for more than seven years on lees, bolstered by old reserve wines aged in magnums and the signature skilled oak handling, this is a one-off prestige cuvée in every sense of the term. Power, precision and immense potential, all signatures. Jangly stone fruits and a smoky, pungent mineral underbelly. Richard Juhlin, the world’s pre-eminent commentator on the region opines that it is ‘…precisely the symphonic harmony that impresses most,’ before suggesting that the wine needs time in the cellar. Essie Avellan MW calls it ‘my favourite of Bollinger Limited Editions so far!’ The Champagne received 95 points from each.
For an 8-year-old champagne this is extremely vibrant, the red-fruit character from the pinot noir grape rather in the background. Quite a strict style with discreet lees creaminess. However the ripeness and power means that it isn’t austere. Feels bone-dry at the powerful, chalky finish. 100% pinot noir, 100% barrel-fermented and 100% matured under cork. Disgorged in March 2021.
95 points, JamesSuckling.com (November 2021)
Located 150 km east of Paris, Champagne is the French wine region renowned for producing the finest, most rich and complex sparkling wines in the world. The elegance, longevity and racy acidity of these wines are attributed to the influence of the chalky soils of the region and the cool, marginal continental climate. The region spans an area of 35,000 ha and has 4 main growing areas, each favouring one of the three noble Champagne varieties; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Champagne has a vineyard quality hierarchy based on the soils, aspect and overall quality of the grapes. Like Burgundy, these quality designations are allocated to the vineyards of the village. Of the 319 villages of Champagne, 17 have Grand Cru status and 44 villages are designated Premier Cru. All Champagne is produced by Traditional Method. The vast majority of Champagne is a blend of the three varieties and may also be a blend of several vintages producing the popular Non Vintage (NV) house styles. Top quality blends from exceptional years are sold as Vintage (Millésime) Champagne.