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The Story

R.D. (Recently Disgorged) is the result of a great vision of Madame Bollinger, R.D. is a magnification of the very best that the Champagne region’s terroir has to offer. R.D. starts as a Grande Année, the prestige cuvée of Bollinger, and is allowed to mature for an extra 8 to 20 years, sometimes more. This special aging allows the wine to maintain a unique combination of freshness and vivacity, while developing delicate and complex aromas. The result is a unique style of its own that is highly acclaimed by Bollinger lovers and true wine connoisseurs. The disgorgement date - clearly stated on the back label - is informational. It does not mean that R.D. should be consumed soon afterwards. Much to the contrary, the R.D. wines are characterized by an impressive capacity to age, not only before, but also after the date of disgorgement.

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Wine Information

In 1961, Mrs Bollinger offered the world the possibility of tasting a wine whose ageing on the lees had been pushed to the limits, a wine paradoxically presenting extraordinary freshness and incredible aromatic expression. And so Bollinger R.D. was born: an outstanding champagne that has since become the favourite of connoisseurs, including a certain James Bond. As a fitting celebration of the 50th anniversary of this wonderful idea, an incredible tasting of twelve emblematic Bollinger R.D. vintages was organised at Chef Alain Ducasse's restaurant Le Jules Verne, on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in July 2011. The guests included thirty professional wine-tasters from around the world, and Bollinger also invited five amateur connoisseurs, winners of the Life can be perfect competition. They all seized this exceptional opportunity to discover the freshness of the 1952, 1959, 1961, 1966, 1976, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996 and 1997 vintages.

To conclude this anniversary year in style, Bollinger has decided to produce a limited series of cabinets in veined, wengé-coloured oak, adorned with brushed brass plaques, to showcase the twelve vintages tasted on 8 July 2011. The designer Eric Berthès dreamed up the unique design of this contemporary piece, whose six staggered drawers sheathed in black lacquer open to reveal a pair of Bollinger R.D. vintages. Each piece is unique: just twelve copies of the R.D. furniture are being produced worldwide and offered for sale at the retail price of €12,000.

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Vintage 1997

A cold winter was followed by significant spring frosts. The early summer was warm, but cool weather and rain persisted throughout the flowering period. Summer ended with warm temperatures, lending some hot-year characteristics to the year's wines even if acidity remained high at 8.5 g/l. Rot played a role in some vineyards. A small harvest (9,402 kg/ha) was picked from September 12th onwards. The 1997 vintage was rather overlooked, following the successful 1995 and 1996 vintages, and many did not produce a vintage even though the year was not particularly weak. Despite the warmth of the year the best wines have sufficient acidic backbone, but many lack intensity and harmony. Most Champagnes are quite developed already, showing no sign of further potential. Its highlights included Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé, Philipponnat Clos des Goisses, Louis Roederer Cristal and Salon Le Mesnil.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

A concentrated wine with a wonderfully supple texture. This was disgorged in July 2010. The RD is, of course, the Bolly flagship but it is the same wine as the Grand Annee of that year, with extra time on lees, though when disgorged, the dosage is almost zero, if not actually zip. 1997 is an unheralded vintage in Champagne, coming after the great '95 and the stunning and much-hyped 1996. Bolly and Salon were the stars of that year. This has grilled nuts, the merest hints of the tropical and is almost juicy. There is concentrated acidity and the inevitably impressive lingering persistence. Maintains the intensity right through and is simply a joy to drink. Deservedly one of the region's most famous wines. Don't be put off by the vintage rep; this is a cracker. 95 $300
  • 95p
Has already developed masses of RD-character and really benefitted from developing its axes a wee bit inside the bottle. A certain metallic RD-sensation in combination with a Verzenay-dominated, stringent aroma of red apple peel. Handsome and sophisticated. Just think that one can almost believe that the label has formed the final flavour of the wine.
  • 97p

The 1997 Extra Brut R.D. needs quite a bit of air to open up. The wine shows tons of depth in a dark, dramatic expression of the vintage. Ripe apricots, pears, smoke, minerals and ash are some of the nuances that flow from this broad-shouldered, expansive Champagne. Once again, I find striking depth and detail in all dimensions of the wine. Personally, I am more inclined to the style of the Grande Annee, but the 1997 R.D. is undoubtedly a gorgeous Champagne. This is an intense wine that needs to be paired with food. The 1997 R.D is 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay of which 75% is Grand Cru and 25% is Premier Cru. This is Lot L017935. Disgorged January 4, 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2017. This is an exceptional set of new wines from Bollinger, one of Champagne’s historic houses. From top to bottom, there isn’t anything Bollinger isn’t doing well these days. I recently sat down with Chef de Caves Matthieu Kaufmann to taste through a range of the house’s 2009s. Readers will find notes on that tasting on www.erobertparker.com One of the distinguishing features of the Bollinger style is the aging of reserve wines in magnum under cork (not crown seal), a painstaking labor of love. Bollinger also has some of the most informative back labels among the region’s larger producers. It would be great to see Krug, Moet & Chandon, Roederer, Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot and a number of the region’s big houses follow suit. 

  • 94p
1997 R.D. Open with caramel, ripe citrus, golden apples, smoke, hints of toast and touch of oxidation and hay. Open but undeveloped. Need air and time. Full-bodied, rich golden apples fruit with ripe grapefruit and lemon, toast and powerful palate grip with minerals. Great vibrant finish and power but needs time. Drink 2016-2028 94p.
  • 94p
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