The other week I tasted the newly released 2002 vintage of Bollinger R.D., the late-disgorged version of vintage Bollinger. The Swedish importer Arvid Nordqvist invited, and two representatives from Bollinger presented the wine. Since I attended as a representative of BKWine (rather as just my own blogger-at-large) those who want to know what my impressions were have to click to read the article over at that site. I added some general thoughts on R.D. to the tasting note.
Roland Eriksson, who was at the same tasting, wrote a general background on Bollinger as well as his impressions of the 2002 R.D. We both landed at a score of 94 pts, for those who care about such things. Despite a striking similarity in score, surname and writing for BKWine we are not related, at least not to the best of my knowledge.
Since I find it a bit boring to upload a blog post that just contains a couple of links, I take the opportunity to add a couple of notes on three random Champagnes tasted at different occasions in February.
We start off with two wines from Egly-Ouriet, probably the most well-known small grower in the genre clearly oak-influenced and powerful Pinot Noir-dominated Champagne. However, the first wine below is Egly-Ouriet’s only Pinot Meunier. In both cases, the oak note was more well integrated compared to the impression Egly-Ouriet’s Champagnes have sometimes given me. This could be influenced by the fact that both wines are from top-notch vintages and that both were consumed with food.
Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes de Vrigny
100% Pinot Meunier from old vines, vinified in oak. Disgorged in May 2013 after 46 months on the lees, so the bottle was laid down in July 2009. This should mean that the base vintage is the excellent 2008.
Golden yellow colour. Nose with ripe yellow fruit, honey, spice notes, and good concentration. Some oak barrel notes, but less than usually for an Egly-Ouriet. 89 p.
As I recall, at least one in our company dubbed this the best Pinot Meunier he had ever tasted. We had it with our lunch at Le Jardin in Reims, the “bistro” of Les Crayères **.
Egly-Ouriet Millésime 2002
Approx. 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, vinified in oak barrels of which 25% new. (I forgot to check disgorgment date, but the other bottles I’ve seen have been disgorged in mid-2012.)
Light golden colour. Powerful nose with ripe red apples, some peach and ripe pear with some preserved fruit notes, honey, spice, and a rather discrete and well-integrated oak note. Palate with powerful concentration, notes of yellow and red apples, some peach, spice, honey, good acidity, and mineral. Quite a bit of power here! Rather approachable now but can probably develop. 93(+) p.
The 2002 Egly accompanied dinner at Bistrot Le 7 in Épernay, the bistro of Les Berceaux *. Many thanks to M. who ordered it!
Cuvée Orpale 1995
The prestige blanc de blancs of De Saint Gall, 100% Chardonnay
Light golden colour, good mousse. Nose with ripe yellow apple, some dried yellow fruit, some mineral, developed notes with toasted hazelnuts and cocoa powder, and some hints of white chocolate. Palate with powerful concentration of fruit, notes of ripe yellow fruit including yellow apple, quite a bit of sweetness of fruit in the attack, some spice, a good and balancing acidity, and just a hint of bitterness. 90 p.
Fine development, but not particularly firm for a blanc de blancs, and surprisingly ripe fruit notes. This style is rather close to that shown by the 2002 Orpale when I tasted last autumn, although the 2002 was better (95 pts). As I recall, the excellent 1998 Orpale was firmer than either 1995 and 2002.
Swedish version here.