Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Allen Meadows - Burghound
*Outstanding* There is lovely complexity to the distinctly yeasty nose that combines high-toned green apple, pear, white flowers and gentle citrus nuances. The clean and sleek flavors are supported by a crisply firm but fine mousse where the finish is medium dry and lingering. It's not all that often that I suggest that readers cellar NV Brut but this is an example that absolutely cries out for it. I suspect that the texture will materially change for the better (i.e. become creamier) and better depth will be in the offing as well. Put it this way: this is a perfectly good Champagne right now but with 4 to 7 years of bottle age it could be first-rate and I would suggest buying it only if you're going to cellar it for at least a few years first. Note further that my rating assumes that the wine will be cellared.
Wine & Spirits
One of Bollinger’s great assets is a massive stock of reserve wine, including 600,000 magnums held under cork. Gilles Descôtes tends those reserves, working with the blending team to subsume the variations of the current vintage into Bollinger’s Special Cuvée by using a majority of reserve wines in the blend. The result is a rich and harmonious Champagne with deep reserves of flavor. Its substantial, formal structure feels polished, its flavors balancing the cool earthiness of a limestone cave and the sunnier, bright floral notes of fresh cream. Built for food, whether emphasizing the freshness with lobster bisque, or the depth with beef Wellington and chanterelles.
Like a fine tapestry, this weaves rich flavors of blackberry tart, lemon parfait, graphite and toasted almond together on the creamy palate. Finely honed acidity creates a vibrant thread throughout. Drink now through 2022.
A Champagne in good form, the nose has a playful contradictory nature with complexity that comes from deep within the DNA cast against some very fresh notes - lime citrus, lime leaf, lemon, nectarine, white cherry and deeper more brambly red fruits, plus gentle spices and freshly roasted nuts, all here. The palate has supple, smooth and creamy texture with a flavorsome wrap of fleshy peach and white cherry flavor. Smooth, deep and round, acidity holds fresh right through to the fresh almond finish. Drink now or hold for up to five years.
The classic Bollinger nonvintage is, as always, rich and firmly structured. With the roundness that comes from aging the wines in wood before blending, it has a ripe, smooth edge. Underneath, the texture is solid, with hints of apple and pear and mature acidity.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The NV Brut Special Cuvee is fabulous. Hints of pears, pastry crust and hazelnut lead to an expansive core of fruit. There is plenty of the signature Bollinger oxidative style in this rich, enveloping Champagne. Once again the Special Cuvee is one of the best Champagnes in its price range. This is Lot L114501. Disgorged April 26, 2011. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2015. Bollinger is of course one of the great names in Champagne. The Special Cuvee is typically one of my favorite wines in its price range...Bollinger is unique among Champagne houses in that the reserve wines are all bottled in magnum and with natural cork, a huge, labor-intensive effort. (AG)
(60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier; 8 g/l dosage; L1403801): Pale yellow. Toasty aromas of apple and pear nectar are complemented by hints of toffee, honey and orange zest. Full and expansive on the palate, offering ripe orchard and pit fruit flavors and an undercurrent of smoky minerals and buttered toast. Smooth and gently spicy on the clinging, nicely focused finish. (JR)
Lots of evolution on the nose. Lively and complete. Ready now – unlike the Krug tasted immediately beforehand. Fresh and well balanced. Complete.
A Pinot Noir-dominated blend that always includes a generous proportion of reserve wines. The biggest and boldest of the big house non-vintages, this is still made from mostly estate fruit. All of the reserve wines are aged in magnums under natural cork, and a large percentage of the fruit is still barrel fermented. In an age where a lot of the big houses are concentrating more on marketing and less on the product, Bollinger continues their tradition of quality. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)