Champagne Bollinger R.D. Champagne, France


A small revolution in the world of Champagne. In 1967, Bollinger releases R.D. 1952. There is no comparable Champagne on the market at the time. This bold and brilliant Champagne takes the pillars of what makes Champagne Bollinger so unique, and pushes them to their ultimate level. It is, very simply, a masterpiece.

R.D. stands for “recently disgorged.” The majority of Champagne Houses have always kept a collection of old wines in order to share with their family, close friends and special guests. The custom was that these old wines were especially disgorged only a very short time before being tasted, so that those invited could share a perfect moment when the wine, disgorged just recently, would offer an extraordinary contrast of freshness and complexity from age.

Bollinger is the producer most associated with a single grape variety in Champagne, namely Pinot Noir. This more demanding grape to grow makes up a minimum of 60% of all of Bollinger’s Champagne, and for R.D. is truly the backbone that allows the Champagne to age. The harmony of Pinot Noir’s richness and elegance becomes ever more complex with the time this Champagne sees before release. Then there is the other association that Bollinger is so well known for: winemaking in barrel. As virtually every Champagne producer in the latter half of the 20th century moved to fermenting in large lots in stainless steel tanks, Bollinger persisted to oversee fermentation barrel by barrel for all vintage Champagnes. Another peculiarity of Bollinger’s vintage Champagnes is the aging under cork rather than crown capsule, to allow oxygen to continue to slowly work its magic on the development of the wine. Why do other producers not do this? Because every single bottle must subsequently be riddled by hand and then hand-disgorged. Lastly, this wine is is typically aged 10-15 years before release, with an aging potential that if not quite immortal, will outlast all of us.


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