One of my most exciting wine experiences was when I first tasted 1975 Bollinger RD with my parents at their home. During yesterday's Sunday afternoon, I served them the latest edition of 2004 blindly. The 82-year-old's reaction did not allow for a wait. Mom immediately exclaimed "the same wonderful scent of chocolate and apricot like when we drank Bollinger RD in the 80's". So right she was. When Bollinger decides to launch the newest vintage of RD, the wine must have its distinctive autolytic character of freshly baked bread, chocolate, hazelnut and mushroom. That is at least the thought. I would like to say that the last vintage in 2002 did not have these features at the launch at all, but instead relied on an almost grassy elegance and refined acid structure in an remaining youthful attire. With 2004 it is different. It's precisely like this Bollinger RD should taste from the beginning. Nobody can be disappointed here. Perhaps, 2004, is not one of the most heroic vintages but on the other hand one of the most classic. The very essence of the RD concept is to try to capture a wine's optimal maturity along with maximum freshness. Unfortunately, I do not think life expectancy is as good as in the La Grande Année version, but I may be wrong. The intensity of the mature layers of dark chocolate, tobacco, black truffles from Vaucluse and a melancholy hiking in the moist autumn forest is, at least, impressive. The mousse may struggle to reach the surface of the glycerol rich essence of wine. Nevertheless, it tingles of lust on the tongue when stringency, chalk and jingling pure acids dance over the finish line.
|Score: 96||Richard Juhlin, Champagne Club, March 2018|
Disgorged in June 2017, this is the 26th vintage of R.D. made by Bollinger, the first coming in 1952. Two thirds Pinot Noir and a third Chardonnay, there is a low 3g/l dosage, making this an Extra Brut. A pale lemon-gold in the glass, this is ripe and rich on the nose, the generosity of the vintage bringing pear tarte tatin, a honeyed brioche character and rich biscuity aromas. The lower dosage suits the vintage, with a drier mouthfeel allowing the ripe fruit, caramel and honey-roasted nut character to provide the breadth and richness. Notes of smoky toasted brioche are refreshed by balancing acidity, and the buttery, creamy notes from the extended lees ageing bring a mellow, smooth length that lingers on a deceptively long finish. The mousse is creamy and fine, with great persistence without any hint of aggression. This is a fantastic and approachable R.D., much opposed to the tighter and more closed 2002.
|Score: 17.5||Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, March 2018|
A superb moment for this late-disgorged vintage Champagne. All the complexity and fruit are here, in the right proportions, on the nose and palate. Grilled peaches, grapefruit, lemons, hazelnuts, espresso and more. Super long, majestic and so rewardingly complex. Drink now.
|Score: 97||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, September 2018|
Fermented in oak barrels and aged under natural corks for almost 13 years, Bollinger's 2004 R. D. Extra Brut blends 66% Pinot Noir with 34% Chardonnay from 16 crus, 88% of which are classified as Grand Cru. The wine opens with a very clear, deep, rich and aromatic but also pure and mineral-fresh nose of crushed rocks, cherries, brioche, pain aux raisin, white nougat, chalk and ripe, yellow-fleshed fruits. Highly elegant and complex on the weightless yet persistent and salty palate, this is an intense, densely woven, firmly structured yet elegant, beautifully refined and refreshing "recent disgorgement" (February 2018) that reveals just a kiss of oxidative flavors that adds even more complexity. A great Champagne on its way to improve over many years in the bottle. Drink 2018-2048.
|Score: 97||Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (237), June 2018|