Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne

SKU #100041 93 points 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.  (1/2015)

93 points 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.  (12/2014)

93 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (11/2014)

92 points James Suckling

 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.  (7/2015)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 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.  (12/2012)

91 points 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)  (11/2011)

90 points Antonio Galloni

 (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)  (1/2015)

Jancis Robinson

 Lots of evolution on the nose. Lively and complete. Ready now – unlike the Krug tasted immediately beforehand. Fresh and well balanced. Complete.  (6/2013)

K&L Notes

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)

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Price: $59.99

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By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/18/2015 | Send Email
Beyond the fact that this is 007 prefered glass of fizz...I must admit I love Bollinger. It is unashamedly a rich style, barrel fermented, round, toasty, packed full of Pinot Noirs red fruited richness. The wine contains 40% older reserve wines and it shows in the wines depth and persistence on the palate. 3-4 years on the lees gives a lovely autolytic presence to the wine along with a lick of oak barrel spice that lingers long in the finish. I can see why Mr. Bond is partial to's powerful and sophisticated.

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/15/2015 | Send Email
Do I really have to encourage you to buy this? Wow... one of the few barrel fermented Champagnes left. So good, focus, texture, etc., etc. Damn, that's good.
Drink from 2015 to 2020

By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/2/2015 | Send Email
Bollinger has a sterling reputation in Champagne for stalwart quality for a great reason. They do the hard work to make great Champagne, and there Special Cuvee is the standard barer for their range. Along with Krug, Bollinger is the only grand marque to refuse to give up their barrels, which they still ferment the wine in to this day. They are located in the village of Ay, famous for being the chalkiest terroir for Pinot Noir in all of Champagne, and Ay is the soul of this blend. It is one of the fullest, most powerful non-vintages from the grand marques, and also one of the driest. If you are a fan of Champagne and haven't tried this classic, you should!

By: Mari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/20/2008 | Send Email
A pinot noir-dominated blend that immediately after opening, has a distinctive leesy, slightly oxidated nose. This is no doubt from the reserve wines that are fermented in oak barrel and then aged in magnums under low pressure. This also lends to the full-bodied, richness of the wine. After several minutes of aeration, the sweet smell of ripe, sun-soaked apples begin to emerge. The predominance of estate fruit (approximately 70% of the assemblage) lends to the broad, rich and intense flavors. Fresh and toasty on the palate with a slight touch of hazelnut, the Special Cuvee has a long finish with a hint of exotic spice at the very end.

By: Brian Koenig | Review Date: 1/12/2011
On the nose, Bollinger is instantly recognizable as having a different character than NV Clicquot or Ferrer Blanc de Noirs, even to casual champagne drinkers. Nicely layered flavors of apple and toast. Tastes "older" than most NV cuvees but no disgorgement date means I have no idea how long my particular wine was in the bottle. Definitely delicious, although the finish is a bit more abrupt and toasty than I personally prefer. Not a tasting note per se, but the packaging and presentation of Bollinger is very classy, and oozes quality for the $$. Recommended.

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