The inaugural PN offering, the PN VZ 15, has been succeeded by the PN VZ 16, a straight Pinot Noir driven by material from the ripe base year of 2016. Fruit sourcing is limited to Grands and Premiers Crus, as is the Bollinger tradition: chiefly Verzenay, Avenay and Tauxières, in addition to Bouzy and of course, Äy. Lees ageing is more than twice the legislated period, imparting serious autolytic complexity unravelling as peat, truffle, hazelnut and shortbread, lifted by the red tangy mountain berries that define cooler climatic expressions of Pinot. The dosage, meanwhile, is at the Extra Brut level. This facilitates a transparent ride across mineral, fruit and impeccable handling, celebrating Bollinger’s intention to release a new addition to its Pinot Noir suite each year, exploring its myriad of terroirs. Galloni at Vinous speaks of the ‘…interplay of vibrancy and the creamier notes that are so typical of the house style…’, while Farr Vintners in London cite the style as ‘luxuriant’.
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.