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Bollinger taps into growing thirst for Pinot Noir with PN VZ19 launch

Sixth-generation Bollinger family member Cyril Delarue praised the growing popularity of Pinot Noir at a London event last week marking the release of the maison’s PN VZ19 to the UK market.

Bollinger taps into growing thirst for Pinot Noir with PN VZ19 launch

The Champagne house, which focuses primarily on Pinot Noir production, has welcomed the non-vintage PN VZ19 blanc de noir into its range.

Each new edition of the Bollinger PN cuvée is constructed around one base year and one principal cru which is “the best representation of the vintage”, Delarue explained to trade and press at the event.

The latest release, based on the 2019 vintage, had Verzenay as its principal cru. Back vintages — this time made up of wines from 2018 and 2009 — are blended to “magnify” the current vintage.

Pinot Noir from Verzenay has been blended with other villages including Aÿ, Avenay, Louvois, Mutigny and Tauxières for the latest edition.

PN VZ19 was shown alongside previous iterations from the PN line — those based around the 2018 and 2017 vintages. Hosted at contemporary Japanese restaurant Clap London, the wines were paired with a range of sushi and sashimi dishes as well as miso black cod and yuzu eton mess. Delarue noted Pinot Noir’s capacity to pair with food, given its texture.

“All our craftsmanship is dedicated to Pinot Noir,” he said — a plus considering the growing demand for the grape variety worldwide. The market is changing, and Pinot Noir is a “hot varietal” right now, he added, with more and more demand.

Compared with a decade ago, when typical Bordeaux varietals ruled, growing consumer knowledge and rising temperatures pushing drinkers to opt for lighter options are weighing in the favour of Pinot Noir, Delarue argued.

He said that Bollinger’s PN range is a wine which answers this demand. Its first release, based around the 2011 vintage, was launched in 2015. “At Bollinger we’re not very fast,” Delarue said, explaining that it takes a “long thought process” before new wines can be released.

His goal is to elevate the blanc de noir category to the heights of blanc de blanc. “There are no consumers coming to say they want a blanc de noir,” he said, though he is hopeful this will change in years to come.

The timing, with more interest in Pinot Noir as a grape variety, couldn’t be better. The PN VZ19 is the fifth edition of the collection, and Bollinger plans to release a PN cuvée based around each coming vintage.

The RSP for this wine is £99 and is available from Fine Wine Merchants.

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