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The underground world of the House’s cellars reveals the full importance of time at Bollinger’s. After primary fermentation in small stainless steel or wooden casks the wine is bottled in the spring and taken down to rest in the pervading silence of the chalk cellars; Special Cuvée champagne will remain there for at least three years and vintage cuvees for much longer. It is this long period of rest that develops the extraordinarily delicate aromas of the wine and gives the bubbles their smooth texture.
Each year, some of the very best wines are added to the House’s exceptional collection of 700,000 reserve magnums which are kept for blending Special Cuvée. Stoppered with natural corks during a light secondary fermentation, these magnums enable each wine, from every cru and every plot, to reveal the infinite subtlety of their bouquet and to develop their full complexity while being protected from oxidation. This is a luxury that gives Bollinger the opportunity of letting wines mature over many years before being used. The art of using reserve wines has reached absolute perfection!
This sunny and hot drought year with record heat levels across Europe led to a very early harvest, which began on September 1st. Large yields (averaging 10,359 kg/ha) of super ripe fruit produced rich and powerful champagnes, although relatively low in acidity (averaging 7.2 g/l). The acidity levels made some winemakers doubt the wines' longevity but this has since been proven wrong by a multitude of majestic 1976 Champagnes defying time. The style is unashamedly ripe, big and even fatty with plush fruitiness. By no means ‘classic' in style but nevertheless great and a forefather to the warm vintages we are experiencing now. Bollinger R.D. 1976 from magnum for example, is something to behold. Other magnificent cuvées include Philipponnat Clos des Goisses, Dom Pérignon Brut and P3, Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque, Piper-Heidsieck Rare and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne.