Tuesday, 10 May 2011.
Dinner at St John's College, Cambridge accompanied by a flight of Champagne Bollinger wines led by Simon Leschallas, Bollinger Brand Ambassador UK. (M) denotes champagnes poured from magnums.
NV Bollinger Special Cuvee (M)
Great as an aperitif; in a snapshot, shows the Bollinger house style - rounded fruits, nice toast and plenty of lees contact.
NV Bollinger Rose (M)
Scottish smoked salmon terrine accompanied with millet, avocado, watercress and leaf salad.
Very attractive red strawberry fruits, still a decent amount of toast and biscuity character coming through, quite savoury. Palate is quite full and generous, plenty of width and body, slightly sweet. Maybe even notes of cured meats / ham? Great poise and balance.
2002 Bollinger La Grande Annee
Fillet of lemon sole ala Rochelaise (sole poached in a little red wine with demiglaze and mussels)
Again, plenty of biscuit, savoury and toasty notes on the nose; quite rich and large, truffles. Palate is awash with fat acidity, but not in a harsh way, still does feel quite austere and steely - I just think its such a good backbone and structure. Still plenty of fruit, quite generous and rich, textured; feels young actually, could easily age.
2000 Bollinger La Grande Annee (M)
Venison Wellington with madeira sauce
Really overwhelming yeasty and biscuity notes, like baked wheat, cereals; hot buttered toast with marmite on it. Unapologetically savoury characters, nothing subtle about it. Palate quite austere, plenty of acidity; very taut, everything held in tension by the acidity, to the extent of being lean and mean. Plenty of secondary characters; minerality showing. Needs food; not an aperitif chapagne, nor one for the faint hearted.
2002 Bollinger La Grande Annee Rose (not pictured)
Rosewater pannacotta with mixed berries coulis and biscotti
Lots of vibrant fruit on the nose, still yeasty and toasty characters too. Palate is noticably wider and fuller than the other La Grande Annees; acidity similar to the La Grande Annee 02. Quite opulent in style, rich and full; I would call it luscious for a Champagne. Unique.
1995 Bollinger RD (disgorged October 2004)
Aged Comte cheese
This has the yeasty and brioche, baked bread, slightly burnt biscuit notes all on steroids. So much secondary characters; this is incredibly savoury and nutty (in both sense of the word). I would compare it to Krug or Salon. Acidity so sharp and piercing, incredible given its age, retains so much freshness and vibrancy; palate full and rich. Spine tingling, nervy stuff; simply bonkers and I love it.