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Bollinger R.D. 1996

Per Bottle
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Description & Technical Information
Madame Bollinger created the first vintage of this now legendary prestige cuvée in 1961 with the launch of R.D. 1952. An acronym for Recently Disgorged, Bollinger R.D. is the result of Madame Bollinger's great vision: an expert wine with aromas enhanced by its exceptionally long maturation in the Bollinger family cellars - more than three times longer than required. Bollinger R.D. is also James Bond's favourite champagne.

Weather: The 1996 season was full of contrasts with an unpredictable summer, but remains famous as a high-sugar, high-acid champagne vintage. In the months before picking, the spells of hot weather and the influence of north-easterly winds contributed to the initial maturity of the grapes. Initially lauded as the best since 1990 (maybe better!), it is undergoing a slight re-appraisal at the moment, as with some of the white Burgundies. High acidity and a tendency to oxidise appear peculiar bed-fellows, but the phenomenon has been noted with one or two champagnes.

Technical Information:
Vineyards: 75% Grand Cru, 25% Premier Cru
Grape Varieties: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay
Ageing: 16 years on the lees
Disgorged: March 2013
Dosage: 3 g/l
Drink: Now to 2029+

Tasting Note: The 1996 harvest began with a dry and crisp winter with small amounts of frost and budding in mid-April. The peak of the harvest was very hot, especially during mid-August and September where conditions were ideal with hot days and cool nights to allow the grapes to fully develop. This vintage is one of the absolute best. A golden colour with a creamy palate and hints of apples and dried fruits. This is a bold champagne with complex flavours and incredible ageing potential. On the palate expressive initial dried fruits give way to a slightly more floral mid-palate. This outstanding vintage has really benefited from the extra ageing on the lees, bringing out its full-bodied nature.
Champagne Bollinger Overview
Expert Reviews
Jancis Robinson MW
“Magnum. Disgorged March 2013. 100% grands and premiers crus. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay.
Mid gold. Creamy, well-integrated nose. No sign of obvious oak. Lovely texture and no excess of fizziness. Bone-dry finish. No compromises! Very Bollinger but just the right side of austere. Massive activity somehow on the palate. Long and noble. But not flattering”
Jancis Robinson MW
“Disgorged 15 October 2007. An 'incredible, exceptional year'. Summer was very very hot and then rain came at the end of August. Cool September nights. A 16 September start to harvest in very good conditions. Exceptional Indian summer. Very high sugar and acid. 70% Pinot Noir. 16 villages. 75% grands crus. Yield 12,000 kg, initial potential alcohol 10%, TA 10 g/l, 2.92 pH, final total acidity 6 g/l, final alcohol 12.1%.
Quite deep gold. Much more developed (and even slightly oxidative) than 1997 on the nose. Strong scent of baked buttered apples. Still quite firm and dense and savoury on the palate. Dry finish. Long. Very complex and open on the nose but still very tense on the palate. Obviously this wine has a long way to go but the nose of this particular bottle was more evolved than I would have expected from the palate. A wonderful wine.”
Antonio Galloni
“The 1996 R.D. from Bollinger is another superb wine from this vintage. An expressive bouquet of spices, acacia blossoms and perfumed fruit emerges from the wine's silky-textured frame. This generous R.D. is drinking well today, but also has enough freshness to age well for years. It is a great version of one of Champagne's legendary wines.”
Essi Avellan MW
“An absolutely fabulous Bollinger. There is so much of everything. Exotic fruit, spice, lemon, vanilla and charred characters. The lately tasted bottles have had some oxidative notes but there is so much fruit and structure that it remains secondary. Really zesty acidity, bold fruitiness and near-eternal finish.”
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News Articles
  1. Bollinger: Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

    Bollinger: Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

    March 1, 2020

    During a visit to the house of Bollinger in Aÿ last year, we explored champagnes from some of the region's hottest ever vintages, dating as far back as 1947. We also held a mini-vertical of Special Cuvée base vintages, tasted a trio of R.D.s and had a look at the new Coteaux Champenois.
  2. Bollinger: 2018 Vins Clairs Tasting

    Bollinger: 2018 Vins Clairs Tasting

    April 19, 2019

    Shortly after the 2018 harvest, Bollinger Chef de Cave Gilles Descôtes declared that "2017 was the worst harvest of my life and 2018 is the best". We visited the house in Aÿ to taste the base wines and also tasted some of the rarer grape varieties, such as Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Gris.
  3. LIVE Bollinger Tasting and Q&A

    LIVE Bollinger Tasting and Q&A

    March 1, 2019

    On Wednesday 6th March 2019, we’ll be going LIVE on Instagram TV with Bollinger winemaker Karl Reuter, who'll be guiding us through a tasting of six Bollinger champagnes and answering questions put to him by the live audience.
  4. Bollinger: 2016.... The Next 1988?

    Bollinger: 2016.... The Next 1988?

    April 12, 2017

    The difficult 2016 vintage appears to have been kind to Champagne Bollinger. We tasted the Vins Clairs at the winery in Aÿ last month and the house are optimsitic - even drawing likeness to the magnificent 1988 vintage! We judged for ourselves...
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