A great wine whenever made and released, but few better than ’02, appropriate given it marks the 50th birthday of RD. Pale gold; the bouquet is a cascade of honeyed brioche, spice and exotic fruits; the palate is extraordinarily powerful and long, lemon citrus and minerally acidity providing freshness. 98 points, James Halliday (winecompanion.com.au).
Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose – plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super-dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there's a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavours give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavours, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. 99 points, James Suckling (jamessuckling.com).
The freshness versus development axis of R.D. is what Bollinger strives for in every release of this monumental wine. In 2002 R.D. achieves this balance like no other vintage that I have ever tasted. When Lily Bollinger decided to release an older vintage, disgorged late rather than a current release prestige cuvée, like all of the other Houses, she created her own unique style of Champagne. R.D. is, of course, copied today but it is never bettered... The 2002 vintage is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Of the 23 Crus used to assemble this cuvée 71% of them are Grand Cru. It is also important to mention that the dosage in R.D. is always kept purposefully low (3-4 g/l of residual sugar) – this gives it epic focus and tension… The nose is nothing short of awesome. It shows remarkable restraint and focus in spite of its exotic florals, warm brioche and faint canelé notes, all straining to be let loose (this will happen with age). There is an impeccably clean and sleek chassis here, very long, tubular and with great density of flavour. It travels across the tongue like a powder-coated titanium lozenge rather than a broader, antique, galleon of years gone by. The finish brings the senses back to familiar R.D. territory with a whoosh of bitter orange and honey. While this lithe, muscular wine seems to be lighter than past vintages it isn’t. It is an illusion. 2002 R.D. is fit to burst with nervous energy. This is, in effect, the ultimate ‘catapult wine’. Bollinger pulls the rope back during the aging process and then releases the payload, hurling the flavour forward on release… There is a power-to-weight ratio in this vinous work of art that no other white wine on the planet can match. As the wine opened up, layers and layers of fruit emerged, swathed in musky scent and wild honey. This is a classic R.D. with a remarkably reined-in introduction and a rip-roaring final handshake. 19.5+/20, Matthew Jukes (matthewjukes.com).
…magnificent… youthful dynamism and wonderfully vibrant acid line… creamy depth amidst tightly honed focus. It’s loaded with all the gingernut biscuits, Christmas pudding, nougat, brioche, dried pear and honey you’d expect from Bollinger. 97 points, Tyson Stelzer (tysonstelzer.com).
Located 150 km east of Paris, Champagne is the French wine region renowned for producing the finest, most rich and complex sparkling wines in the world. The elegance, longevity and racy acidity of these wines are attributed to the influence of the chalky soils of the region and the cool, marginal continental climate. The region spans an area of 35,000 ha and has 4 main growing areas, each favouring one of the three noble Champagne varieties; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Champagne has a vineyard quality hierarchy based on the soils, aspect and overall quality of the grapes. Like Burgundy, these quality designations are allocated to the vineyards of the village. Of the 319 villages of Champagne, 17 have Grand Cru status and 44 villages are designated Premier Cru. All Champagne is produced by Traditional Method. The vast majority of Champagne is a blend of the three varieties and may also be a blend of several vintages producing the popular Non Vintage (NV) house styles. Top quality blends from exceptional years are sold as Vintage (Millésime) Champagne.