Bollinger kicks off 2014 R.D. push

26th March, 2014 by Gabriel Stone

Champagne Bollinger unveiled its R.D. 2002 vintage in London yesterday as the first stage of a worldwide relaunch for the prestige cuvée.

coffret ouvert RD2002 LRThe move marks the first step of a plan outlined earlier this year by Bollinger president Jérôme Philippon, when he told the drinks business: “For Bollinger, 2014 is the year of R.D.”

Following on from last year’s focus on rosé, the house feels that with the release of this 2002 vintage it now has enough stock to draw more attention to this récemment dégorgé, or “recently disgorged” expression.

Recent R.D. vintages have seen Bollinger decide to bottle this expression exclusively in large formats – magnum and Jeroboam for its 1999 and just 350 Jeroboams for its 2000 – to slow its maturation. However, Bollinger’s new chef de cave, Gilles Descôtes, pointed to the widely acclaimed “great vintage” represented by 2002 as giving the house confidence to bottle in a standard 75cl format as well.

Explaining the decision to begin this push in the UK, Philippon not only highlighted this market’s position as “the largest and by far the most important” for Bollinger, but noted that the first ever expression of R.D. was unveiled by Madame Bollinger 45 years ago at Berry Bros & Rudd, where the 2002 launch also took place.

Recalling the story behind the creation of the original R.D. 1952, Philippon recorded this move as a response to growing demand for Bollinger to emulate other houses such as Taittinger, Lanson and Pommery, each of whom introduced prestige cuvée styles to their portfolio during the ’60s.

The arrival of R.D. cemented an idea explored by Madame Bollinger a few years earlier in 1963, when she had offered the US market a Champagne called Bollinger Réserve, which had been made from the 1947 vintage in a recently disgorged style.

Bollinger's R.D. 2002 alongside the house's inaugural R.D. 1952 vintage

Bollinger’s R.D. 2002 alongside the house’s inaugural R.D. 1952 vintage

The launch of R.D. 1952 was swiftly followed in the same year by the introduction of a recently disgorged version of its 1953 vintage for the French and Swiss markets, while a 1955 expression appeared in Spain and Italy.

Describing the impact of this recently disgorged approach on the Champagne’s character, Philippon outlined an “incredible freshness in the mouth, combined with a very large palate of flavours, including tertiary notes, which are very unusual in a wine that fresh.”

In keeping with the Bollinger house style, R.D. 2002 is made predominantly from Pinot Noir, balanced by 40% Chardonnay, all taken from premier or grand cru sites in the Marne Valley. The must is then fermented in oak barrels before being sealed with cork rather than the traditional crown capsules.

Explaining this decision, Descôtes said: “When you want wine to age a long time, crown cap will not do the job properly,” as he noted that Bollinger uses cork for any styles designed to be aged for more than “five or six years”.

In common with an increasing number of houses, Bollinger R.D. 2002 displays its disgorgement date of 19 September 2013 on the back label.

Following this UK launch, Bollinger now plans to show its R.D. 2002 in France, followed by Hong Kong, New York, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney “in the next few months.”

Bollinger R.D. 2002 carries an RRP of £175 per bottle or £900 per six-bottle case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Fine Wine Logistics Coordinator

IG Wines
London, GB

Brand Ambassador East Coast USA - Ableforth’s

Maverick Drinks
New York - field-based, USA

Brand Ambassador West Coast USA - Ableforth’s

Maverick Drinks
San Francisco / Los Angeles - field-based, USA

Global Travel Retail Manager

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Portfolio Ambassador - Europe

Maverick Drinks
North West Europe - field-based, UK

Senior Partner Manager - Grocery

Maverick Drinks
London/Field Based, UK

Sales Executive

Woolf Sung Ltd
London

Trade Marketing Manager - Maverick Drinks

Maverick Drinks
London / Kent

Business Development Executive Central London

William Grant & Sons UK
London

PR & Communications Officer - Atom Group

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Crus Bourgeois du Médoc 2015 Official Selection Tasting

London,United Kingdom
21st Sep 2017

The City Wine Show

London,United Kingdom
22nd Sep 2017

Almaviva 2015 Vintage and Vertical Tasting

London,United Kingdom
28th Sep 2017
Click to view more

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 29th September 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 29th September 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more