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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.
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.
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.