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Bollinger - the Champagne of choice for the liquor industry
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This accolade, esteeming their non-vintage Special Cuvee over other Houses vintage wines would come as no surprise to the House of Bollinger. For them a vintage wine is a magnificent expression of one vintage, but it takes great skill to blend the many wines that go into the multi-vintage blend that is Special Cuvee — a true expression of Bollinger’s signature ‘style’; rich, powerful and complex. “It’s gratifying to see this award going to Bollinger Special Cuvee — as this wine is the full expression of Bollinger's style. Whilst La Grande Annee is also distinctly "Bollinger" — it represents a specific year – but it is the Special Cuvee which is made every year and must remain consistent,” said Robert Hirst, chairman of Fine Wine Partners, Bollinger’s Australian importers. If you asked one of the Bollinger family to tell you their secret, they will start with one key word, “terroir”. “Many years ago the House of Bollinger made a very wise decision. They began to buy their own slices of land in the most highly prized Champagne growing areas of France -classic Pinot Noir vineyards in the Mountains of Reims, Chardonnay vineyards in the Cote des Blancs and Pinot Meunier in the Marne Valley. “Most Houses in Champagne (if they in fact own any vineyards) only own vineyards which provide a relatively small amount of their grape requirements. With the growing trend of the growers to supply their own co-operatives in favour of their traditional House customers the consistent supply of grapes in Champagne is critical — even more so when it, as it always does, reflects on the consistency of the House style. “Given Bollinger's extensive vineyard ownership, and with the supply of the remainder 25% from long-term grower partners, Bollinger is assured of consistent grape supply. But it’s not just any Champagne grape — Bollinger's grapes are sourced from the highest rated grand and premier cru vineyards and it is these grapes, and the corresponding methods of winemaking (aimed at ensuring that the specific grape character is fully expressed), that ensure that Bollinger's style remains consistent,” Hirst explained. The winemaking methods include barrel fermentation in small old oak pieces (no new oak to mask character but old barrels to increase aromatic complexity and logitivity); selection of the cuvee only (the first pressing of the juice — rejecting the subsequent pressings) to ensure that only the best juice is used; ageing on lees far longer than the usual periods (for up to 18 years for the RD wines for example); maintaining the reserve wines in magnum, lot by lot, vineyard by vineyard, vintage by vintage; with this uncompromising and relentless pursuit of excellence it is little wonder that the House of Bollinger has achieved international reputation with Champagne connoisseurs.