x
  • Country ranking ?

    637
  • Producer ranking ?

    15
  • Decanting time

    25min
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    sweetbreads cooked with morels

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Bollinger’s 2002 Brut Vieilles Vignes Francaises isn’t really Champagne, nor is it a wine. Rather it is an extraordinary and frankly addicting concoction all its own. Endowed with the most refined mousse imaginable and endless layers of fruit, the 2002 VVF captivates both the hedonistic and intellectual senses to the fullest. Waves of subtle red fruit, smoke, mint and incense appear to be virtually endless, but at the same time, it is the wine’s textural richness that stands out the most. With time in the glass the 2002 just gets better and better. Readers fortunate to have the discretionary income needed to purchase the 2002 VVF should not hesitate. It is a once in a lifetime treat for most mortals! Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.

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The Story

Destroyed at the dawn of the 20th century by the infamous phylloxera vastatrix, all the Champagne region’s vines had to be replanted with American rootstocks that were resistant to the destructive insect.

All of them? Not quite... In Aÿ, two Bollinger plots classified Grand cru, the “Chaudes Terres” and “Clos St Jacques”, were miraculously spared by the phylloxera. From these vines cultivated using traditional methods, planted “en foule” (without any visible order) according to the provignage method, and worked by hand, is crafted the Vieilles Vignes Françaises cuvée: a Blanc de Noirs matured in the cellar for at least five years, with a cork stopper and then disgorged by hand. Vieilles Vignes Françaises is a confidential production of a few thousand bottles, an exceptional and extremely rare wine, with a memory of bygone days; a symbol, an extraordinary, evocative and moving legacy.

 

Bathed in golden morning sun of Champagne, three diminutive Pinot Noir plots are under the exacting scrutiny of vineyard workers. The plots, surrounded by stone walls, have been given special attention for over one hundred years. These are the only ungrafted vines in nearly all of Champagne that have managed to escape the ravages of phylloxera decade after decade. It is on this morning that the vineyard workers have discovered a fateful problem on the 16-are Croix Rouge plantation in the village of Bouzy. The year is 2004—phylloxera has landed.

“It was over in the blink of an eye. Right when we found out that phylloxera had hit us, it only took a couple of weeks before everything was gone. There wasn’t a thing we could do,” recalls Bollinger’s Christian Dennis.

Champagne Bollinger has cared for the vines on these three plots with an extraordinary passion since 1969. Renowned English wine author Cyril Ray was the guest of Madame Lily Bollinger when he recorded the history of the Bollinger Champagne house in 1968. His attention was drawn to these exceptional plots and the truly unique character of the wines they produced. At his urging, Lily Bollinger decided to produce wines from these plots under her own name. The 1969 vintage produced in honour of Madame Bollinger’s 70th birthday was released in 1974. The first actually commercial vintage was released in 1970. This ‘museum wine’ instantly became a favourite among collectors and a much-desired rarity, so seldom encountered in a lifetime.

Bollinger is one of only a handful of the remaining family-owned prestige champagne houses. Founded in 1829, Bollinger attained legendary status in its pursuit of perfection: its renowned Charter of Ethics and Quality was published in 1992 by Christian Bizot and Ghislain de Montgolfier, when the syndicate of Grand Marque houses was not ready to accept the stringent criteria as a guideline for all houses. Bollinger decided to stick with the Charter and its own values, which respect not only quality, but also family, the region and tradition. In an age of increasing champagne production and giant champagne houses, Bollinger has been able to keep its scale small. Export manager Philippe Menguy explains:


“Every year we produce two million bottles of champagne, even though we could sell four million. We have 12 million bottles in our cellars, which is a six-year inventory. We own and cultivate a majority of our grape needs, so we’re not dependent on purchased grapes.”

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Wine Information

Bollinger is one of only a handful of the remaining family-owned prestige champagne houses. Founded in 1829, Bollinger attained legendary status in its pursuit of perfection: its renowned Charter of Ethics and Quality was published in 1992 by Christian Bizot and Ghislain de Montgolfier, when the syndicate of Grand Marque houses was not ready to accept the stringent criteria as a guideline for all houses. Bollinger decided to stick with the Charter and its own values, which respect not only quality, but also family, the region and tradition. In an age of increasing champagne production and giant champagne houses, Bollinger has been able to keep its scale small. Export manager Philippe Menguy explains:
“Every year we produce two million bottles of champagne, even though we could sell four million. We have 12 million bottles in our cellars, which is a six-year inventory. We own and cultivate a majority of our grape needs, so we’re not dependent on purchased grapes.”

Christian Dennis sheds light the role that Vieilles Vignes Françaises (VVF) plays in the house portfolio: “Wine is produced in minimal amounts only during the best champagne years, averaging out to 3,000 bottles. This accounts for only 0.15% of our gross production! The hand craftsmanship that this requires and disadvantageous economies of scale make the VVF three times more expensive than our other vintage champagnes. From an economic standpoint, the VVF doesn’t play a major role, but in terms of image it is vital to us. It’s also extraordinary to produce a wine using winemaking techniques which were used before the phylloxera blight. The VVF is thus the epitome of the country’s original champagne style.”

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Vintage 2002

A cold winter and a mild late spring cued for a perfect June allowing early and fast flowering. Outstanding weather conditions prevailed and the season went on without dramatic turns. Rains in August raised concerns regarding gray rot, but finally sunshine and dry conditions throughout September resulted in an abundant crop of largely healthy fruit (11,930 kg/ha). Dehydration due to wind further aided in achieving perfect ripeness and additional concentration. This, and the cool nights, helped in retaining fresh acidity and, despite the ripeness (10.3% potential alcohol), the wines did not suffer from heaviness or a lack of life. A near-perfect vintage, which produced balanced Champagnes consistently around the region. The best show an impeccable combination of freshness, power, structure and finesse. However, some have matured aromatically quicker than expected and are already past their peak. 2002 produced an abundance of spectacular champagnes, such as Dom Pérignon (the entire range), Krug Vintage and Clos du Mesnil, Piper-Heidsieck Rare, Louis Roederer Cristal and Cristal Rosé, Ruinart Dom Ruinart and Dom Ruinart Rosé, Salon Le Mesnil and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, to name a few.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

18 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Medium and Gold

ending

Medium

flavors

Honey, Mineral, Nutty and Spice

nose

Open

recommend

Yes

taste

Perfectly balanced, Concentrated, Complex, Full-bodied, Elegant, Fruity and Perfumed

Verdict

Outstanding and Well made

Written Notes

This vintage has amazing focus and precision with generous flavours on the palate. Beautifully crafted Champagne that combines depth with finesse.

  • 96p
2002 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francaise Stockholm, Sweden, Nov 2012 D1h, G2h Light golden color with amber hue and very small, persistent bubbles. Very intense and surprisingly open nose from the start with honey, golden apples and lush stone fruit. All covered in a very intriguing and complex spiciness. It just grows and grows and gets more intense with air. Full bodied, very concentrated and massive palate that is being held in check by a superb minerality and acidity. This is a powerhouse in perfect balance, bursting with complexity. Golden apples, rich, lush, stone fruit, apricots, dried figs, saffron, red apples, more sweet spices, roasted nuts, ginger and a daunting finish that never stops. The grip this wine has on your palate leaves you speechless. One bottle is not enough for two! Drink 2022-2052 99+p.
  • 99p
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Information

Origin

Ay, Champagne

Glass time

1h

Other wines from this producer

Bollinger Special Cuvée

La Côte aux Enfants

La Grande Année

La Grande Année rosé

PNVZ16

R.D. Bollinger

Rosé

Special Cuvée

Vins Clairs Cramant Vinifié en Fût

Vintage Champagne

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

89p
 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2002  ( Bollinger )

"DRC 2008s - impressive!!! Favourite ones Echezeaux and the big R-C! Montrachet is also immensely appealing!!!"

9y 5m ago

88p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2002  ( Bollinger )

"2008 Is very promising vintage for Romanee Conti."

9y 5m ago

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