Robb Recommends: The New Vintage From Champagne’s Best Year This Millennium
What do you do with a champagne that’s ahead of its time? Wait for the world to catch up.
Although not a great year for the economy, 2008 is widely considered to be the best year for Champagne since 1928 — thanks to cooler weather conditions resulting in a diverse harvest characterised by clean, ripe fruit with just the right amount of acidity. With many vintages having come and gone, Champagne Bollinger has released its R.D. 2008.
Utilising the principles developed by Madame Lily Bollinger—who took over the famed Champagne house following her husband’s passing in 1942—in 1967, the French term récemment dégorgé (recently degorged) is used to denote Champagne that has been aged in the bottle for several years prior to disgorgement — the result being exceptional freshness coupled with the aromatic intensity of fine vintages.
In the case of the Bollinger 2008 R.D. Champagne, disgorgement was as recent as October 2022, lending the cuvée incredible vibrancy. R.D. Champagne can be enjoyed in two ways; the year after disgorgement, which showcases nuanced fruit aromas, or after a few more years of ageing, wherein its full aromatic potential is revealed.
Comprising 71 percent pinot noir and 29 percent chardonnay sourced from vineyards across Ay, Verzenay, Les Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Cramant, its low-dosage nature (less than 3 grams of sugar per litre) puts it into the extra brut category. In its relative youth, the atypical blend hits the nose with honey and marzipan, balanced with hints of bergamot, yuzu, and grapefruit. Notes of candied orange and green apple move across the palette, with the distinct creaminess of hazelnuts working to offset the unmistakable minerality and salinity. At a recent dinner with the house, hazelnuts served as the ideal accoutrement to each course, further bringing out the notes of the new vintage.
Already allowing for good drinking, the Bollinger 2008 R.D. Champagne will develop in complexity for several years, while maintaining its alluring freshness and vibrancy. Liquid proof that good things come to those who wait.
Subscribe to the Newsletter
Recommended for you
A large wine cellar aboard a yacht sounds counterintuitive, but these vessels have climate-controlled cabinets to handle the harsh ocean.
By Jaclyn Trop
November 14, 2023