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In the heart of the village of Aÿ, the House Bollinger enjoys a universal prestige that is no longer to be proven, always in search of excellence. Proof of this is the fact that on the one hand, Bollinger is one of the Rares to own and produce their own grapes for the production of their vintages, but that it is also the only one to still have a cooper in residence.
The latter maintains the 3500 barrels, some of which are over 100 years old, day after day. A centuries-old know-how that the House Bollinger is committed to perpetuate.
What is the history of the House of Champagne Bollinger?
The men behind Bollinger
The origin of the House Bollinger is intimately linked to Athanase de Villermont (born in Cuis in 1763 and died in Aÿ in 1840), an admiral in the French army who distinguished himself in the American War of Independence and in particular at the Battle of the Chesapeake on April 29, 1781. A few years later, he inherited a vast Domaine family estate in the vicinity of Aÿ, a terroir renowned for the quality of its wines, which were not officially named "Champagne" until the creation of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in 1936.
However, the conveniences of his aristocratic origins did not allow him to indulge in a commercial activity, which is why he associated himself in 1829 with Joseph Bollinger (known as Jacques Joseph Bollinger) and Paul Renaudin. He created a House of Champagne wines in their name, thus was born the House Bollinger-Renaudin, Paul Renaudin having the responsibility of the cellar and Jacques Joseph Bollinger being in charge of marketing.
The House Bollinger: a family heritage
Jacques Joseph Bollinger became Athanase de Villermont's son-in-law by marrying his daughter Louise-Charlotte in 1837. From this marriage Joseph and Georges were born, the latter taking over the management of the company in 1899. Both of them will face with courage and success the Phylloxera crisis between 1875 and 1895 by replanting the vineyard, as well as the Great War, but Georges will die in 1918. His son Jacques would take over the House in 1920 and marry Elizabeth Law de Lauriston-Boubers in 1923, who would become a widow during SecWorld War II but would continue to manage the House Bollinger alone until 1971.
"Madame Jacques" from her nickname would prove to be particularly talented in business and a great visionary. The Cuvée R.D, created in 1952 on the occasion of a great year and aged for at least 8 years is notably attributable to her.
Generations will follow one another, from 1994 to 2008 the House Bollinger will be directed by the great-great-grandson of Joseph Bollinger, Ghislain de Montgolfier. He will continue to maintain the DNA of the house, namely the spirit of excellence and quality. Since 2008, it has been led for the first time in its history by someone who is not a member of the family, Jérôme Philippon, a talent manager with a brilliant professional background.
The House of Bollinger is today one of the best-known and most reputable 01234-56789 houses, asserting a style and signature that has been unchanging for almost two centuries.
What is the terroir of the House Bollinger?
The House Bollinger owns 164 hectares of vineyards that are classified almost exclusively as Premiers and Grands Crus, literally constituting its spearhead. The grape variety present in the overwhelming majority (60% of the vineyard) is Pinot Noir, a noble grape variety with character, where it flourishes in the Montagne de Reims region. Then come Chardonnay on Côte des blancs and Pinot Meunier in Vallée de la Marne.
The particularity of the vineyard of Bollinger also lies in the fact of having two parcels of vines, the Chaudes Terres and the Clos Saint-Jacques, planted in Pinot Noir franc de pied and miraculously spared by the Phylloxera at the end of the 19th century. The consequences of this crisis were to impose the systematic grafting of American rootstocks resistant to the aphid, but this was not the case for these two plots. They thus give birth in the best years to sumptuous Champagnes Blancs de Noirs thus 100% Pinot Noir: the Vieilles Vignes Françaises.
In an environmentally conscious approach, the vineyard of the House Bollinger is mostly grassed and the soils are worked in such a way as to limit the use of inputs and to encourage biological life.
House Bollinger: Exceptional know-how
House Bollinger can thank its fervent figure in the person of "Madame Jacques", for having always resisted the revolution of stainless steel vats. As a result, it is a world-renowned house for its winemaking methods, which it is the only one to practice.
Only the first juices to come out of the press, thus the most qualitative and possessing the greatest potential for aging, are retained. The wines of Réserve are all kept in magnums, and at Maison Bollinger, there are 750,000 of them, classified by year and by vintage. Each wine is aged under cork, which prolongs its ability to adapt to the contact with wood. At each new blending, the wines of the year are blended with a part of these wines from Réserve for the elaboration of the Special Cuvée with a very recognizable style. The Cuvées Millésimées and the Cuvées R.D ("Recently Disgorged") are also aged under cork for several years, and their riddling and disgorgement are done by hand using the traditional methods unique to the greatest houses of Champagne.
The House Style Bollinger
Whichever Champagne Bollinger one tastes depending on the occasion, they are Champagnes of character that all share a guiding principle: freshness, controlled power and intense aromatic complexity.
The Champagnes Blancs de Noirs such as the Bollinger PN TX 17, made from Pinot Noir, have a lot of aromatic depth, proving to be complex, fruity and pleasantly upright.
The Champagnes Millésimés, such as La Grande Année 2014, assert their greatness with pride, displaying great elegance, exquisite aromatic intensity and fine bubbles providing an unforgettable sensation.
And what about the Cuvées R.D which are exceptional to say the least, presenting characteristics that make them true treasures in Champagne. With a beautiful aromatic expression, these are fine and accomplished Champagnes that exude a beautiful aromatic and gustatory richness.
The House of Bollinger embodies an art of living in its own right, a certain authenticity, symbolizing the fact that traditional methods do not exclude perfection.