This week we see the launch of Bollinger R.D. 2007 Extra Brut, here is a quick look back at where R.D. started and news on the 2007 release. Champagne Bollinger are based in the heart of Pinot Noir territory in the small village of Ay, the House sits at the top of the village with panoramic views over the surrounding vineyards, a source of many of their grapes.
There was a small revolution in the world of Champagne when in 1967 Bollinger released R.D. 1952, at the time there was no comparable Champagne on the market. R.D. stands for “recently disgorged.” Three vintages were launched simultaneously; 1952 in the UK, 1953 in Switzerland and France and 1955 US and Italy. It was these vintages followed by 1959 that gained Bollinger R.D. international renown.
The majority of Champagne Houses have always kept a collection of old wines in order to share with their family, close friends and special guests. The custom was that these old wines were disgorged moments before being tasted and guests could see the extraordinary contrast of freshness and complexity from age.
Bollinger is the producer most associated with the Pinot Noir grape and it is at least 60% of all of Bollinger’s Champagne and for R.D. it forms the backbone that gives the Champagne an ability to age. The harmony of Pinot Noir’s richness and elegance becomes ever more complex with the time this Champagne sees before release. As many Champagne producers in the latter half of the 20th century moved to fermenting in stainless steel tanks, Bollinger persisted to oversee fermentation barrel by barrel for all vintage Champagnes. Another peculiarity of Bollinger’s vintage Champagnes is the ageing under cork rather than crown capsule, to allow oxygen to continue to slowly work its magic on the development of the wine. Why do other producers not do this? Because every single bottle must subsequently be riddled by hand and then hand-disgorged. Lastly, this champagne is aged around 12 years before release, with an ageing potential to outlast us all! I have tasted many of the older vintages from the 70’s at Bollinger and they are still in great condition.
R.D. 2007 is sourced from a total of 14 crus, 91% of which are Grand Cru and 9% of which are Premier Cru. The 2007 is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. R.D. is vinified entirely in older oak barrels, specifically used 228 litre barrels and 400 litre casks that are up to 40 years old. The wine remains in barrel for 6 months, undergoing alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel, a point of distinction from the minute remaining producers who do ferment in barrel. The wine is then bottled under cork to undergo its secondary fermentation, rather than crown capsule. As a result, every bottle has to be hand-riddled and hand-disgorged.
After 14 years on the lees, the wine is given a light dosage of 3 grams per litre, making it Extra Brut.
With the 2007 vintage, the original material of the label is restored, as well as the font of the legendary 1952 vintage, the first of the Bollinger R.D. cuvées. The disgorgement date appears once again on the front label.
The 2007 vintage of the R.D. cuvée embodies the House’s dedication to hard work and Madame Bollinger’s vision. It underscores the belief in the authenticity of expertise. The contrast between freshness on the palate and the spicy aromatic intensity of Bollinger R.D. 2007 brings a new experience of the cuvée to lovers of fine wine.
What Are the Critics Saying:
94 → 96/100 – Essi Avellan MW EssiAvellan.com March 2021
“2007 is a rather scarcely declared vintage and not one recognized for its Pinot Noir, yet Bollinger have managed to create something so fresh and delicious from it. Its secrets are in rigorous selection and in unusually high proportion of crunchy Verzenay fruit (29%). Glossy evolving lemon colour. The coolly fruity nose comes with golden raisins, yellow apple, orange zest, juniper wood and ginger. The spiciness gets enhanced over time in the glass. The palate has rare energy and tension for an R.D. , really driven and pure. The palate is still tight and reserved, palate cleansingly dry. Seems like a really slowly ageing R.D. worth cellaring. A great call from the winemaking team to release this La Grande Année vintage as R.D. (bottle disgorged 10th July 2020)”
97/100 Antonio Galloni Vinous.com March 2021
“Bollinger’s 2007 R.D. is superb, but it is also a wine that reflects the nature of a unique and challenging growing season. In most vintages the R.D. is marked by the distinct creaminess and breadth of Aÿ Pinot Noir. Two thousand seven, though, was a difficult year marked by very dry weather, rain at the end of the growing season and an early harvest in August, something that was not as common as it has become. Selection was essential. For the 2007, the blend is composed of just 14 villages compared to the more typical 18-25. Verzenay is the main Pinot component while Cramant plays the leading role in the Chardonnays. For these reasons, the 2007 is an R.D. driven by more focus, energy and tension than readers are used to seeing. Lemon confit, dried flowers, sage, mint, crushed rocks, almond and ginger are some of the aromas and flavors that give the 2007 its complex, multi-faceted personality.
The 2007 can be enjoyed now, but I would prefer to cellar it for a few years. It will age effortlessly for decades as it moves through the various phases of its life. I was reminded of the way Champagne can magically traverse time by magical bottles of the 1976 R.D. and 1996 Vieilles Vignes Françaises I tasted recently. The blend is 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, 91% Grand Cru fruit and the rest Premier Cru. Bollinger fans will notice the return of the original label, with the disgorgement date clearly visible, a tribute to Madame Bollinger, who was a pioneer in so many ways. Disgorged: July 10, 2020. Dosage is 3 grams per liter.”
Release Offer Tuesday 9th March 2021:
Bollinger R.D. 2007 Extra Brut £625 In Bond per case 6*75cl
Tasting Note Gilles Descotes, Bollinger Cellar Master
“To the eye, the wine presents intense shimmers of gold. The complex nose opens with aromas of honey and brioche, followed by a host of spices (ginger, cumin, caraway, and more), before evolving into notes of mirabelle plum, dried apricot and fresh hazelnut. The palate has a lively and clean opening that reveals notes of white plum, walnut and aniseed. Its freshness is beautiful and its tension incredible.”
Food Pairing Suggestion
Pairings based on saffron, the ingredient selected to highlight the Bollinger R.D. 2007 cuvée: Langoustine with a saffron-infused vinaigrette – Fillet of halibut in a saffron crust – Bresse chicken with a saffron and ginger sauce.
Bollinger R.D. – All The Vintage Releases:
This is a list of all the releases of Bollinger R.D. from the first release in 1967 of the Bollinger RD 1952:
1952, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 (only magnums and Jeroboams), 2000 (Limited Edition 350 Jeroboams), 2002, 2004 and the brand new release in March 2021 Bollinger R.D. 2007 Extra Brut.