"Before being a great Champagne, Bollinger is first and foremost a great wine". It is undeniable, a Bollinger spirit actually exists. In the wines certainly, but also in Aÿ. The involvement and seriousness of the people involved in the design of these great wines closely contribute to their success. Bollinger is also one of the few rare Champagne houses to have remained as a family since its creation in 1829. The maison was founded by Athanase de Villermont who had inherited the vineyard of Champagne, Joseph Bollinger, a German merchant and Paul Renaudin, a Champenois who was passionate about wine. The Bollinger and Villermont families united their fate at the same time as their profession with Joseph Bollinger’s marriage to Louise-Charlotte, Athanase’s daughter. Their children would take over the rein. There is a 163-hectare vineyard located, for more than 80%, in grands and premiers crus, and providing over 60% of its needs in grapes. One of the interesting facts about this maison is the preponderance of Pinot Noir which gives great flavour and strength to the champagnes. Another particularity of the maison is that part of the fermented reserve wines in wood is then conserved in magnums, with cork stoppers, for 5 to 12 years before being incorporated into the whole. Finally, on the management side, in September 2007, Ghislain de Mongolfier handed over the reins to Jérôme Philipon who followed in his footsteps while emulating his style. This all went well and there is no doubt that the brand continues to shine in the starry sky of Champagne.
About the cuvée
Absolutely unique in Champagne, Bollinger's "Vieilles Vignes Françaises" is a living reminder of what the champagne of yesteryear – in pre-phylloxera days – must have been like. In Aÿ and Bouzy, some parcels of franc de pied (i.e. ungrafted) vines have survived. And it is from those hundred-year-old rootstocks that this cuvée is produced. Worked the traditional way – that is, manually, with old-fashioned tools – the vines produce grapes which are also vinified according to the time-honoured méthode champenoise. The grapes thus reach greater maturity while maintaining very low pH levels… the sign of a great champagne. Always produced as a vintage wine, Bollinger's Vieilles Vignes Françaises is a full-bodied, round, complete champagne. Truly unique.
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General : The «bio» designation covers certified wines produced by biodynamic or organic methods, sustainably produced wines, and «environmentally friendly» wines that are not officially certified. These designations apply to recent vintages (the date of certification, if known, is specified in the estate description). See the blog article for more information on this designation.
Biodynamic : The «biodynamic» designation is used for all estates certified as using biodynamic methods, as verified by one of the two official bodies, Demeter or Biodyvin. All wines produced by biodynamic methods are also certified as organic. This designation applies to recent vintages.
Organic : The «organic» designation covers all estates certified as using organic methods, as verified by one of the bodies approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, such as Ecocert. This designation applies to recent vintages.
Sustainable : The «sustainable» designation covers all estates certified as using integrated or High Environmental Value (level 3 Environmental Certification) techniques. This designation applies to recent vintages.
Evironmentally friendly : The «environmentally friendly» designation refers to estates practising environmentally friendly wine-growing techniques, but that have not opted for certification or who are still in the process of converting to organic agriculture or biodynamics. These estates may have adopted biodynamic principles (non-certified) or simply no longer use chemical products. This designation applies to recent vintages.
Natural : Wines which are produced without any added sulfur (or almost any) and with no other inputs. However, given that there is no official body to issue the natural wine label, it is based on winemakers’ statements. This designation applies to recent vintages.