Ranked #3 of 15 2008 Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier from Champagne
An exquisite Champagne. The balance between fruit and toasty aged complexities is outstanding. A powerful wine but it seems a touch less bold and overt than usual, and more subtle. It's youthful, penetrating, vibrant and very long on palate. Layered toast, biscuit, lemon, citrus and roasted nut characters, overlain by a waft of sherry aldehyde. The finish is trademark Bollinger dry and crisply refreshing. (71% pinot noir, mainly from Verzenay and Aÿ, 29% chardonnay. Barrel fermented. 10 years on lees. Disgorged June 2018)
Drink: 2019 to 2029
97+ Points Robert Parker
Bollinger's 2008 La Grande Année is superb, wafting from the glass with aromas of crisp orchard fruit, ripe lemons, honeycomb, warm biscuits, dried white flowers and a delicate top note of walnuts and fino sherry. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a beautifully refined mousse, superb concentration at the tightly wound core, incisive acids and a supremely elegant intermingling of Bollinger's oxidative stylistic signatures with fresh, vibrant fruit. The finish is long, precise and chalky. This is a Grande Année built for the cellar—the real excitement will come with a bit more bottle age—but this is already a thrilling Champagne in the making. Finished with eight grams per liter dosage, it was disgorged by hand in July 2018. This is also the first vintage of Grande Année to be bottled in Bollinger's new narrower-necked 1846 bottle, which should make for a slower evolving wine. Drink 2022 - 2060.
Source: Robert Parker.
98 Points Tyson Stelzer
The greatest cuvées do not unveil their true grandeur in seconds or even minutes, and I tasted La Grande Année 2008
six times over two days. At the end of a week of tasting more than 70 cuvées, this was the last wine standing and the only
one I chose to return to. The remarkable blossoming of its captivating pinot noir presence is testimony not only to its
grandeur but its remarkable longevity. The unleashing of La Grande Année from the greatest vintage in decades comes
with tremendous anticipation, not least in that it is the first in the glorious new, narrow-necked ‘1846’ bottle. For all the
opulent splendour and vast amplitude that is Bollinger, its hue is a bright, medium straw. The detailed precision of this
season presents the space and focus for every element to be laid out with clarity and detail never before visible in a young
Bollinger, amplifying its complexity to hitherto unfathomable heights, all the while juxtaposing this with newfound poise
and energy. Exceedingly youthful, even by the enduring standards of 2008, it confidently presents the bold presence of
pinot noir from the Montagne de Reims’ southern slopes in layers of red cherries, blackberries, satsuma plums and mixed
spice, brightened by the crunch of preserved lemon of chardonnay. All the exuberant character of barrel fermentation is
on display more visibly than ever, layered in high-cocoa dark chocolate, freshly ground coffee beans, ginger, candied citrus
rind and spices of all kinds. Nine years on lees has heightened its creaminess and contributed layers of crème caramel and
roast hazelnuts. The acid line of this classic season brings a focus, tension, energy and drive to the finish that promises
an exceedingly long life, confidently supported by the frothing salt minerality of thundering grand cru proportions,
the commanding voice of four of the most profound sparkling crus on earth. Twelve hours after opening, the precise
red cherry fruits of pinot noir rose to a resounding presence that utterly trumped all influence of oak and maturity,
empowered by scintillating chalk minerality and the laser acidity of 2008. In length and line, this will go down as one of
the greatest Bollingers of the modern era. Even at more than a decade of age, it is not nearly ready to be unleashed yet,
and demands at least as long again before daring to approach. The house considered not releasing it, but rather holding
the full production back for release as R.D. Instead they held back 30–40 percent rather than the usual 10 percent. My
advice is to buy as much as you can find the instant it lands, and cellar it as long as you can possibly keep your hands off it.
Source: Tyson Stelzer.