21 Jun 2011

Wine of the week: a perfect Champagne ?

Ok so we are being a little elitist here, as this retails for over 100 euros a bottle, but I cannot but speak my admiration for this bottle of Champagne that I shared with a friend last week. After all, I do also talk regularly about wines that retail for less than a tenth of this price, so let's be a little self-indulgent for a minute. And who knows, maybe some of my readers have money, or a rich uncle, or get lucky one day. Well, if you do, and you feel like celebrating, you could do worse that going out and buying a bottle of this stuff, if you can find one. It will make you feel very good indeed!

Bollinger RD 1997 is the latest(?) in a line of vintage Champagnes that this excellent house (Bollinger) releases after some length of time spent in its cellars. I would say the right length of time for a decent Champagne, but some might find this to be a little extremist. The term "recently disgorged" means that it has been kept in the producer's cellars until quite recently and only then has had its yeast (used for the second, in-bottle fermentation that characterizes Champagne) removed and the final cork pushed in. It is the top of their range.

Before anyone says that "recently disgorged" does not mean quality, since Champagne needs to rest after such a shock,  I would agree but add that this bottle was "operated" upon on July 15th 2009. So it had been disgorged almost 2 years before I tasted it.

I won' t bore you with tasting notes. This has everything you could want from a Champagne! Power and finesse, vibrating freshness and satisfying ripeness, full on the palate and also long, lingering and so refreshing. Not all Champagne tastes like this, and many others are very good, but this is something special.


  1. I’ll be the ignominous bastard I’m reputed to be. One hunderd euros for a lot of sugar is quite expensive. True, this one being dry – I suppose – the “liqueur d’expédition” must have been scarce. It takes us down to double “chaptalisation” only : once during the making of the “vin clair” (to improve on the 8-9 vol % or so of the harvest) and once during the “prise de mousse”.
    Some call it “magig fizz”, but I think Roger Daltrey did better: “You can have a magic bus ... for one hundred English pounds!”, he used to sing aloud.
    Et Merde au CIVC!

  2. Yeah, sure it is expensive, but I/we did get so much sheer joy from this. Indulgence, decadence, call it what you want. Place os going to the dogs I say!

  3. Elistist now became elitist, but a PEFECT champagne survived! Why the Hell do I notice that? And why do I feel compelled to comment on it?
    Dunno, must be a form of mental disease. Or may be it’s a consequence of belly-button admiration: one focusses on the wrong issues.

  4. Methinks I will never learn to type properly (or proof read either).
    I get kind of annoyed by the same kind of mistakes when I read something. Question of moats and beams I suppose (that one may catch you out Luc, despite your vast culture!)

  5. True, but I’m eager to learn. Mine was a petty remark. I just don’t seem to be able to refrain from posting such stupid remarks.
    Wasn’t “the Moat” the place at Scone Palace where the Scottish kings got crowned (or the Moot, I can’t remember) ? Whereas the beams may refer to Mr. Bush’s unfriendly wife (Beams means Heinz). Even worse, but this vehicle you may be fond of: Sun-beam Alpine?
    “Je donne ma langue au chat. »

  6. It was the Moot for Scottish kings.

    "Moats and Beams" refers to a biblical moralistic expression whereby the reader is encouraged not to "put out" the "moat" in someone else's eye when he has a "beam" in his own. In other words, do not tell people to do correct something when you do the same or a similar thing yourself.

  7. Now I see : moat meant a ditch full of water around a castle in my fragmentary mind, and had nothing to do with grass, wheat or whatever vegetal. The French language refers to a similar episode in the saying: “On voit la paille dans l’oeil du voisin mais pas la poutre dans le sien”.
    As far as I am concerned, my « poutre » does not always live up to its past reputation, but one might find the cause in me being more or less « sur la paille ».