Bollinger 2012 release price up 10% on ‘undervalued’ 2008

Mentzendorff, the UK distributor of Bollinger, is to release the 2012 vintage of La Grande Année today at £440 for six bottles – a 10% rise on the “undervalued” 2008 vintage.

Speaking at the UK launch of Bollinger La Grande Année 2012 and Grande Année Rosé 2012 at St. John restaurant in London, Mentzendorff’s managing director, Andrew Hawes said:

“Our stock of the 2008 vintage sold out in 90 minutes. We released it at £400 for a six pack in bond and it is now trading on the secondary market at £490 for six, having touched £500.

“We’re releasing the 2012 vintage at a higher price because 2008 was undervalued. We’re confident about the pricing of 2012 as there has been a recalibration of where La Grande Année sits within the prestige cuvée pantheon.

“The 2012 vintage is priced where it should be – we don’t feel we’ve over-pushed it. The wine goes on sale today, but we’re holding back the release of the magnums.”

Hawes described the character of the wine as “classic”, and said that there was a “danger of undervaluing the vintage”, which has “hidden depths on the palate that would continue to unfold and develop”.

A blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay from 21 crus, the majority of the Pinot in the blend hails from Aÿ and Verzenay, while most of the Chardonnay was sourced from Les Mesnil-sur-Oger.

The 12% abv fizz was fermented in aged oak barrels and has a dosage of 8g/l. According to cellar master Gilles Descôtes, the sparkler is “full, fresh and complex”, with notes of “almond, hazelnut and honey” on the nose, and a “silky texture with a long, refined finish”.

La Grande Année 2012 Rosé, meanwhile, is a blend of 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay from 21 crus, with a distinctively dark pink colour and black fruit character.

Descôtes describes the wine as “delicate and fresh with a creamy texture and racy finish”.

With production around a tenth of the size of La Grande Année, the release price of the rosé is significantly higher – £500 for six bottles in bond.

“The Burgundian influence can be felt in the 2012 rosé as there was a large proportion of whole bunches used in the production of the still red that goes into it.

“With winemaking assistance from Chanson, this is the first time Bollinger has experimented with whole bunch fermentation in La Côte aux Enfants, which gives the sparkler the vinosity of a still wine,” Hawes said.

“Big, structured and tannic, this is not a light rosé Champagne. It’s a great food wine, with the still red bringing a blackberry and peppery element,” said Hawes, who revealed that La Grandé Année Rosé has a cult following and a different audience to La Grande Année.

Bollinger’s rosés are made with a small proportion of sill red wine made from a steep, four hectare, organically farmed grand cru Pinot Noir plot in Aÿ.

Bollinger’s international sales director, Guy de Rivoire, described 2012 as an “extreme” year with low yields of 8,000kg/ha due to April frosts.

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