Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne

SKU #100041 95 points Decanter

Outer quote mark If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for you. Bollinger Champagne has made a number of cameos in James Bond films over the year. This non-vintage Special Cuvée is an example of a classic Champagne done well. Notes of marzipan on the nose and the palate give toastiness and leesy notes, specifically sourdough. It’s classic for a reason and would only elevate any table it finds itself on. (BC) Inner quote mark (12/2022)

93 points Burghound

Outer quote mark Restrained and very pretty aromas include those of yeast, Meyer lemon, petrol and green apple where the latter element is picked up by the utterly delicious, vibrant and detailed flavors that possess fine complexity on the agreeably dry but not austere finish. The supporting mousse is dense but fine and overall, this is a wine that could be enjoyed now or held for up to a decade. Excellent. Inner quote mark (10/2022)

93 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Lots of biscuit aromas and a wide spectrum of fresh-citrus, candied-citrus, red-apple and red-berry notes. Mouth-filling creaminess, plus quite an imposing presence and powerful structure for an NV Brut. Long, citrus and chalky finish that’s very clean and properly dry. Inner quote mark (7/2022)

93 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark A graceful Champagne, with flavors of black cherry, Asian pear, toast point and salted almond dancing across the palate. Bright and buoyant, with a fine, lacy mousse and delicate notes of lime blossom, ground coffee and exotic spices playing on the finish. *Highly Recommended* (AN) Inner quote mark (11/2022)

92 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark The NV Champagne Special Cuvée is 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and a small amount of Meunier, with the base wine coming from the 2018 vintage and 15% from reserve. Light golden in color, the nose is vinous and forward, with ripe and opulent fruit, offering notes of yellow flowers, orange zest, redcurrants, toast, and broth. The palate is ripe with red plum and displays a chalky texture with a fine mousse. Classic and balanced, this is a great entry wine for the range with its balance of power and finesse. (AF) Inner quote mark (11/2022)

92 points John Gilman

Outer quote mark The current release of Bollinger “Special Cuvée” non-vintage Brut was disgorged in January of 2022 and is from the base year of 2018. The cépages is sixty percent pinot noir, twenty-five percent chardonnay and fifteen percent pinot meunier. One-third of the vins clairs are barrel-fermented and aged in Bollinger’s fine collection of old casks. It includes fifty percent reserve wines and was finished with a dosage of eight grams per liter. The wine offers up a refined nose that shows lovely secondary layers of complexity from the high percentage of reserve wines in the cuvée, offering up scents of apple, peach, warm bread, a lovely base of soil tones, dried flowers and plenty of upper register smokiness. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a fine core, good soil signature, elegant mousse and a long, vibrant and well-balanced finish. This is very good non-vintage Brut. Inner quote mark (7/2022)

92 points Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark Like its rosé counterpart, the latest release of Bollinger's NV Brut Special Cuvée is showing especially well, bursting from the glass with aromas of honeyed apples, crisp stone fruit, buttery pastry, ripe lemons and fresh walnuts. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and vinous, with a deep core of beautifully ripe fruit, racy acids and a pillowy mousse, it's a charming, characterful wine that proves that Special Cuvée is firmly back where it belongs. (WK) Inner quote mark (8/2022)

Vinous

Outer quote mark We commence with the fail-safe choice of sparkler, the NV Bollinger Special Cuvée. The nose is well defined with forward, bready and slightly nutty. The palate has an irresistible fatness that those who like razor-sharp champagne might turn their nose up at, yet I enjoy its almost sensual texture and the lack of pretension. (NM) Inner quote mark (6/2022)

K&L Notes

This Pinot Noir-dominated blend always includes a generous proportion of reserve wines. The biggest and boldest of the big house non-vintages, this still is 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)


Price: $69.99

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Product Reviews:

By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/22/2021 | Send Email
This family owned and independent House still makes one of the best and most reliable oak aged Champagnes on the market. Three to four years aging on the lees has filled this with notes of caramel, toast, ripe apricot, and touches of oak in a bold and chalky style. This is big, full-bodied bubbly that is filled with richness and tension.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/22/2021 | Send Email
Beyond the fact that this is Agent 007's preferred glass of fizz, I must admit I love Bollinger. It is unashamedly a rich style, barrel fermented, round, toasty, packed full of Pinot Noir's red fruited richness. The wine contains 50% older reserve wines, and it shows in the wine's depth and persistence on the palate. Four 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 this...it's powerful and sophisticated.

By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/22/2021 | Send Email
This is magically rich champagne (about 30% spends time in barrel) made from 50% reserve wines that are actually painstakingly aged in magnum sized bottles. The result is a plush, complex profile of dried apricots, pears, peaches, and honeyed almonds that are balanced wonderfully by vibrant acidity. The long, arduous production method means that it requires the relatively low dosage of 9g to balance out the rich profile. ​

By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/22/2021 | Send Email
Bollinger has a sterling reputation for standout quality in Champagne for a great reason—they do the hard work to make great Champagne, and their "Special Cuvée" is the standard bearer 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 Aÿ, famous for being the chalkiest terroir for Pinot Noir in all of Champagne, and Aÿ 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 lately, you should!

By: Diana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/22/2021 | Send Email
Bollinger’s classic release, the "Special Cuvée", is one of my first choices when looking for a grande marque, since it offers both the prestige name and relative value—the quality feels higher than many fancy brands at a similar price point. On any given day, the wine has a quicksilver character about it: nimble and bright enough to cut through fried foods, yet lush when complementing more classic pairings such as seafood. Founded in 1829, Bollinger clearly cares about luxury and detail at every level. Yet the house itself is set among its own vineyards in the unassuming village of Aÿ. For the "Special Cuvée", 80,000 magnums are disgorged by hand! Wines are aged at least three but often five years (more than the appellation’s required fifteen months). Bollinger only seems expensive if you haven’t seen the care that goes in to making it.

By: Chris DePaoli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/8/2019 | Send Email
At the moment Bollinger is my favorite big house and the non-vintage "Special Cuvee" is a big part of that position. Ripe fruit underneath a wet stone wash gives way to a sweeter, almost flan like mid-palate that finishes in a mouth watering citrus zest. A classic for a reason.

By: William Beare | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/8/2019 | Send Email
Oh, how I love Bollinger. It's like an old friend that I don't see often enough, and every time we reconnect all these wonderful memories come rushing back. A champagne for the lovers of the toasty, rich bubbles-- packed with honeyed brioche, warm nuttiness (hazelnut and almond), and a long, refreshing finish. All of Bollinger's champagnes (regardless of format) are aged in magnum-- a pricey undertaking-- all in service of providing a truly luxurious drinking experience. As our champagne buyer is fond of saying-- this is "crazy craft!" 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay & 15% Pinot Meunier.

By: Rachel Alcarraz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/5/2019 | Send Email
One of the best priced Grand Marque Champagnes we have on the shelf, especially when taking account the quality of the wine. More than one third of the wine is barrel fermented and more than one third is reserve wine aged for a minimum of 10 years in magnums before blending creating possibly one of the most complex champagnes I have tasted yet. Some cracker or fresh brioche aromas mixed with fresh yellow apples draw you into a textured yet lively palate that doesn't stand still!

By: Shaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/5/2019 | Send Email
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Who doesn't love Bolli! 007, The gals from Ab Fab, and us! Seriously this has always been a favorite, likely due to its generous use of reserve wines and meticulous winemaking, the bold rich and nutty presence and light zesty lemon peel highlights are truly hard to resist
Top Value!

By: Cameron Price | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/11/2018 | Send Email
Bollinger forever to me has been elegant champagne that shows true class. 30% of Bollinger’s wines are aged in wood and all of their reserve wines that make up their very ‘special cuvee’ are aged in magnums which is pretty well agreed upon between all the growers and champagne houses that this yields the most complex aromas. That is what you get with Bollinger, complexity. Wonderful balanced richness with piercingly fresh acidity with just the right amount of richness making this champagne one of my favorites.

By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/9/2017 | Send Email
The Bollinger Special Cuvee is a Champagne for the connoisseur, as it is created painstakingly from up to forty percent reserve wines, which are stored in Magnums, under half pressure, and hand disgorged before bottling! This is a Champagne of exceptional quality and small production, created from grapes grown on Chalky, south facing soil. Aromas of lightly toasted nuts lead to a broad, very dry palate, with a dominant, chalky minerality and a slightly creamy roundness.

By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/8/2017 | Send Email
Bollinger is one of my immediate go to houses for people looking for a known name that delivers stunning wine for the price. The special cuvee from them is the perfect place to start with this all family owned estate. Lovely fruit notes of early plum, red fruit, and green apple with a little wood and spice are all firmly in balance here. The level of complexity is impressive and the finish is soft but does not fall flat in any way. There is also a beautiful tartness to the wine from the acid that serves to enhance the overall experience.

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/7/2017 | Send Email
Oh man, is this good, soooo good! We have to be careful around here about picking favorites in the Champagne category, because the fact is that we all love Champagne and our current favorite may be bested by yet another delicious bottling before long. That said, for many of us, Bollinger is a long-time favorite amongst the grande marques, a true original and - without going into detail - a process that is ridiculously labor intensive, manual and expensive even for their Special Cuvee. With aromas of loquat, and a slightly savory, Beurre Blanc like note, the current bottling immediately drew me in in. It may be the 1/3 barrel fermented aspect of the base wine, the presence of 10-20 year old reserve wine, or my experience with the other great chalky soil based wine region of Europe, but I detected just a passing resemblance to Manzanilla here! A bright, delicious, complete and complex palate seals the deal and Bollinger continues to be one of my absolute faves.

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/7/2017 | Send Email
I find this to be one of the most interesting Champagnes we have on the shelves right now because of how many different notes and tastes it possesses. While Bollinger is one of the larger houses in Champagne, they are absolutely one of the best. The amount of care and work they put into their Champagne is unreal and the dedication to quality is beyond almost all others. The average age of the wine in this bottle is ten years old and one third of it is barrel fermented, which is far less common in Champagne. Topping wine in this house is kept in magnum bottles, separated by cru and vintage, which means they have to pop every single one when it comes time to add dosage to the bottles. This painstaking work results in an unbelievable wine and one I would be happy to have anytime.

By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/6/2017 | Send Email
This Champagne is crazy good! Crazy because its primary fermentation is 1/2 done in barrel and crazy because the 1/2 of the wine is aged in magnum at 1/2 pressure (3 fathoms) and then disgorged and blended in. Two hundred and fifty-thousand magnums hand-disgorged and tested for cork taint as the mags are aged on the cork, not crown cap. Who does this?! The Special Cuvée is bright and lively on the initial taste but, fleshes out and the trademark Bollinger golden fruits and caramel come into play. Super, super long finish! Still a family-owned Champagne house!

By: Sal Rodriguez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/6/2017 | Send Email
You don't get this fine of a wine without putting in a lot of effort! If I had to give a gift and it needed name recognition, and it had to be epic, and it had to be less than 100 dollars - This is it!! Intense, spicy musk, with a serious presence. Lots of weight and complexity to explore. Great minerality and plenty of apple flavors to enjoy. A perfect bottle of bubbly!

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/15/2015 | Send Email
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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: Mari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/20/2008 | Send Email
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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.

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