Bollinger La Grand Année 2004 (Champagne, France)
12%, Cork, $300
Oh yes, this is seriously fine fizz. Easily on a par with the sublime 02 and needing only bottle age to really come together and count amongst the absolute best Champagnes on the planet.
The 2004 La Grande Annee is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay, sourced from 16 crus (88% Grand Cru, 12% Premiers cru), and aged entirely in barrel. This particular bottle was disgorged in July 2012, which means is spent about 7 years on lees.
With a typically fine bead, this certainly looks the part too, with vanilla bean oak evident on the full and quite overt nose. Plenty of autolysis richness, but not quite the brioche laden, heavy (and more complex) autolysis nose you see in Bollinger RD. Shows the Flor-like barrel influenced softness through the mid palate, finishing with the sort of taut and forceful acidity that marks this as a wine in progress.
In some ways a more delicate wine than the 02, yet also backwards too. Initially I thought it a bit too acidic and twangy, but the closer I looked, the more I loved the sublime length, the linear nature of that acidity and the almost grapey Pinot elements.
Ultimately, the superb length marks this as a wine of brilliance, though I’d be waiting for the wine to catch up with the length myself. Buy it, cellar it for a few years, whatever – it’s shit-hot booze regardless.
Score: 18.7/20 95/100
Would I buy it? Want!