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.
This rich and warming wine developed its deep golden color after the long period of maturation in cellars more than twice the time required by the appellation.
Aromas of Vielles Vignes Françaises are extraordinary showing up the flavors of honey and spice bread flavors with hints of candied citrus, quince, dried fruits such as mango and papaya as well as ginger.
Veilles Vignes Françaises can be appreciated more by wine drinkers when served chilled between 8 and 10°C or more.
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.”
With similar weather characteristics to the now-legendary 2002, the 2006 vintage was overall very hot and dry. Vines grew in fits and starts with a heatwave during July succeeded by a cool and humid August. The ultimate factor was the summery September weather, which assisted the grapes in developing much more maturity than usual. As a result, the harvest was the longest on record.
Vineyards: 100% Grand Cru | Aÿ: Chaudes Terres & Clos St-Jacques
Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
Ageing: 8 years on the lees
Dosage: 4 g/l
A cold winter and springtime frosts laid the foundations for this vintage of abundant yields (12,997 kg/ha). Uneventful flowering was followed by exceptionally hot and sunny weather, which lasted until August. A dank August left producers fearful but fortunately warm, bright conditions in September redressed the balance. Harvest commenced on September 9th, producing grapes high in sugar level but notably low on acidity. The general health of the grapes was sufficient, producing wines which excel over the preceding 2005 vintage, another warm and ample year. The year's greatest wines are supple and expressive and despite the richness they escape being overly heavy. Overt and welcoming upon launch, the best come with excellent capacity for ageing. Winey, and richly fruity characters, most Champagnes regrettably miss some tension and finesse. Wines of the vintage include Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Krug Vintage and Dom Pérignon Rosé.