Today on The Friday Bubble
with Essi Avellan
MW and Nick Baker ; Bollinger R.D. 2008 in bottle and Magnum.
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.
2008 is the first R.D. to have been aged in the “1846” Bollinger bottle. This unique shape offers beneficial properties for the quality of the wine with the curved shape of the bottle perfectly balanced to form a “small magnum” with a narrower neck and a wider base, to very slightly slow down the oxygen exchange and therefore give a better quality wine with longer ageing potential.
The 2008 vintage is fast emerging as one of the best since the renowned and now-legendary 2002. After a rainy but mild winter without any prolonged cold spells, spring arrived with some very localised frosts. Cool weather returned in June and the infrequent sunshine prolonged the feeling of freshness. The spring to autumn weather was bright with sunny spells and the long, hot days and cool nights during September gave the grapes excellent acidity during the harvest period.
“2008 is a remarkably slowly ageing vintage, thus it is laudable that Bollinger were able to lengthen RD’s lees ageing from 12 to 14 years here. The house shifting to the narrow-necked new bottle shape in 2008 adds an element of interest to this launch from the super hyped harvest year. The layered nose shows cool restraint with sweet patisserie and roasted chestnut over yellow apple, lemon zest and crunchy yellow plum fruit. Over time in the glass the charred, tobacco and nutty notes get enhanced with sweet vanilla, dried apricot and apple compote tones. On the palate the wine is as vigorous and tight as ever, with a linear and racy body leading to a long, super saline finish. Compared to the earlier launched La Grande Année edition of the wine, there is more flesh on the bone, but the wine manages to keep its elegant crystalline transparency. No doubt the record-low 3g/L dosage contributes, as Bollinger wants to stay true to the wine. Many wondered about the short original release of La Grande Année, but Bollinger did wisely to keep back a large number of bottles for release as RD thanks to the wine’s colossal ageing capacity. Even today the wine is structurally super youthful, but aromatics are already beautifully enriched by fine charred, smoky and biscuity complexity. This RD is an age-defying beauty. Bottle disgorged 28.10.2022.”