There is Champagne, and then there is 2002 Bollinger. This wine makes me dizzy, stammering in cross-eyed bliss. Taking a step back, the sustained chord of flavor comes into focus, revealing a limestone honey: scents of acacia, marzipan, apricot and golden citrus. Jamal Rayyis, one of our tasters with the broadest flavor library in his head, described the scent as loomi (dried lime) and dried apricot, as if walking into a Middle Eastern market. Flavor details aside, the wine’s richness softens the structural grandeur of the vintage, which is buoyed in a mineral bath of power. This will reward another ten or 20 years of age, and the bottles that remain will likely only feed the wine’s legend.
A stunning edition of one of the great vintage Champagnes that sees immense power and freshness carry the inherent complexity that is the cornerstone of the Bollinger style. Lemon rind, chalk, lime juice and light-grilled nuts here, this has terrific freshness and fragrant lift, gently sweet biscuity complexity here too. The palate's crisp, powerful, assertive and long, delivering a wealth of apple, melon and citrus fruit flavour amid lemon biscuit, almond nougat and a jousting savoury vs. cleansing finish. It's superb now, but will grow and develop handsomely for some years if well cellared. Drink from 2016.
The 2002 Brut La Grande Annee is marvelous. The 2002 is an understated Grande Annee that caresses the palate with layers of effortless, weightless fruit. The mousse is exceptionally fine, which adds to the impression of total elegance. This is a relatively bright, floral Grande Annee with plenty of aromatic lift, inner perfume and no sense of heaviness at all. A rich, creamy finish adds the final note of complexity and pedigree. The 2002 is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, 71% from Grand Cru villages and 29% from Premier Crus. (AG)
Light gold. Ripe pear and honey on the explosively perfumed nose, with sexy floral and marzipan nuances expanding with air. Fat, full and palate-coating, boasting impressive power and thrust. Shows an intriguing blend of richness and energy and finishes long, with smoky and spicy nuances. (JR)
Ripe, appealing flavors of peach, Gala apple, toast and blood orange mix with a streak of minerality and notes of spice, all set on the fine-grained texture. Fresh and focused, with racy acidity and a long, mouthwatering, nut-tinged finish. (AN)
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. Disgorged November 2011. RS 6 g/l. Tasted blind. Savoury and cheesy and interesting on the nose. Very distinctive. Exciting and very deep flavoured. Very confident and multi-layered. In the prime of life. Not heavy -- sufficiently racy. Clean and neat. A firm cast-iron framework. Impressive. Very long. 18/20 points. (JR)
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