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La Grande Année is the Prestige Cuvée of Champagne Bollinger. It is only produced when exceptional quality harvests occur, and is the expression of Bollinger's experience and expertise. More than the illustration of the vintage, La Grande Année is the result of the Bollinger style, of its exceptional terroir and traditional wine making techniques. La Grande Année possesses a beautiful rounded structure and combines rich, complex and intense aromas. These wines express sincere vinosity and intense aromas that depict the conditions of that particular vintage.
In 1976, Bollinger Vintage became Grande Année; then, in 2004, "La" Grande Année… A name simple enough to illustrate its exceptional status: because only truly extraordinary years become vintage at Bollinger. La Grande Année made its screen débuts two years later, in James Bond’s Casino Royale.
Originally hailed as the best of the 1988/1989/1990 trilogy, the wines have developed quicker than anticipated with premature oxidation having crept in early on. Thus, I have downgraded my rating from five stars to four stars. There was frost damage in April but the vintage was made by the long, hot and dry summer. Rains in the latter half of August somewhat elevated the rot occurrences. Picking began during the second week of September and the crop was the third largest at the time (11,963 kg/ha) and the wines had excellent alcohol and acidity levels. The ripest vintage since 1959 is showcased by the depth and finesse of the Champagnes. The cuvées still drinking impeccably include the whole range of Dom Pérignon (Rosé, P2, Rosé, Rosé P2), Philipponnat Clos des Goisses and Louis Roederer Cristal..