Bollinger emphasised the importance of pink Champagne at its annual press lunch in the UK this week.
The house decided to pour almost nothing but rosé during the event on Tuesday to highlight both the popularity of the Champagne style but also Bollinger’s skill in producing it.
“It is booming everywhere, but Bollinger has been quiet about it, although our rosé gets fantastic reviews,” commented Jérôme Philipon, CEO of the house, as he welcomed guests.
The lunch, which was held at Yauatcha in London, was complemented by Bollinger’s Grand Année Rosé 1995, 2002 and 2004, as well as its Special Cuvée rosé, launched in 2008.
The brand also served its still red wine called La Côte aux Enfants, which Bollinger winemaker Mathieu Kauffmann said is used in unusually small proportions to give colour to the pink Champagnes, as well as, in certain vintages, sell as a standalone product.
“At Bollinger we use just 5 to 6% because we don’t want to transform the Champagne with red wine,” he said, noting that in contrast, most houses include between 10 and 20%.
However, he also explained that Bollinger make a particularly dark and concentrated red wine.
This is a result of the favourable site for making La Côte aux Enfants, which is a steeply sloped south-facing plot in Aÿ, as well as viticultural techniques such as green harvesting and sorting to reduce yields.
Furthermore, he recorded Bollinger’s three week post-fermentation maceration on the skins at low temperatures for the red wine – which is around two weeks longer than the average in the region – to extract colour and flavour, but not harsh tannins.
Ahead of the tasting however, as previously repored by the drinks business, Philipon said that Bollinger had enjoyed a record year in terms of sales in 2011, while pointing out that an 8% sales increase last year could be partly attributed to the house’s success with rosé.
He also stressed Bollinger’s aim to remain independent, saying, “It is critical for us to be a family-owned house”.
Finally, he told those present that Bollinger would once more be associated with fictional MI6 agent James Bond in the next film based on the character, due for release in October.
“Bollinger is a key partner and James Bond will be once again drinking and supporting Bollinger,” he stated.
Meanwhile, it was announced that John Franklin, former employee at London’s Champagne Bureau, would be the new PR manager at Bollinger’s UK agent, Mentzendorff.