The Friday Bubble – Review of Bollinger PN VZ19 and PN AYC18 with TFB Founder Nick Baker


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Today on The Friday Bubble with Nick Baker; The latest release Bollinger PN VZ19 Brut NV & its predecessor PN AYC18.

Champagne Bollinger owns an impressive 178 hectares of vineyards, of which 85% are in Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages. Their land is spread over seven main villages: Aÿ, Avenay, Louvois, Tauxières and Verzenay planted with Pinot Noir; Cuis with Chardonnay; and Champvoisy with Meunier. Bollinger are one of the few Houses to produce the majority of their own grapes for their blends. Pinot Noir represents 60% of the House’s vineyards and defines the House style: complex and powerful with remarkable structure.

In 2012 Champagne Bollinger was certified High Environment Value (HEV) this certification rewards a number of environmental procedures implemented at the Maison.

PN VZ19 is the fifth interpretation in a series that will be released every year, always with a focus on one of Bollinger’s Pinot Noir crus, or villages. Each year the cuvee will be an expression of a different cru from the base year that highlight’s its distinctive terroir and taste. PN VZ19 highlights Verzenay (VZ) which makes up 40% of the blend with the balance from Aÿ, Avenay, Louvois, Mutigny & Tauxières. The blend features 52% from 2019 and 48% of Bollinger’s reserve wines with the oldest from 2009.

94 → 95/100 Essi Avellan MW
“On the ripe but fresh and harmonious harvest year 2019, Bollinger chose Verzenay as the pillar of its PN cuvée. A warm year needed the freshness from northern facing terroirs, thus 40% of the blend come from the Verzenay, including a hefty 25% of reserve wine magnums from 2009. The rest of the blend is made up by the other Bollinger hallmark crus Aÿ, Avenay-Val d’Or, Tauxières and, for the first time ever, Mutigny. All in all, 2019 represents 52% of the blend with a hefty addition of reserve wines, 48%. The first nose already comes across sweetly expressive with many aromatic assets. The dominant fruit is ripe yellow peach, which the 50% oak fermented wine complements with spicy mineral nuances, yet very few oxidative tones. If the nose promised ripeness, the palate counterbalances it by its lovely linearity and saline, scintillating nervosity. The warmth of the year can be sensed the textured fleshiness and juicy-fruity power. At the same time the wine projects immaculate precision and length.”

Bollinger PN AYC18 is made exclusively from Pinot Noir (PN) with the majority of the grapes coming from estate owned vineyards in the Grand Cru village of Aÿ, based on the superb 2018 vintage. Aÿ is one of the rare 17 villages to be classified as Grand Cru in the Champagne region. The vineyards are situated at the heart of three important areas: the Côtes des Blancs, Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne. 50% reserve wines, including 25% aged in magnums of 2009 Aÿ, are then added to bring a sense of aromatic harmony and further complexity to the blend

93 → 94/100 Essi Avellan MW
“Bollinger finally based its 4th edition of this pure Pinot Noir cuvée on its home terroir Aÿ’s fruit. As much as 47% of the blend is made up of Aÿ Pinot Noir, lending its broad and silky yet chalky print on the wine, which Verzenay, Tauxières and Avenay-Val-d’Or support. The amply fruity 2018 vintage represents a half of the blend, its ripeness giving a light peachy tone already to the colour. The rest is constructed of 2017 and 2016 reserve wines and as much as 25% of 2009 vintage reserve wine magnums. The supple nose comes with sweet vanilla tones, apple compote, orange blossom and pencil shavings. There is an immediate charm also to the fleshy and airy yet precise palate. Towards the back palate an energising freshness emerges, adding vivacity to the creamy and textured whole. A beautifully constructed cuvée playing on all the Bollinger fortes. Dosage 6g/l.”