BOLLINGER R.D.: Madame Bollinger’s intuition
The Bollinger Maison (and all of Champagne) owes much to its success to the iconic figure of Madame Bollinger, known as Lily among her friends. She took the reins of the company after the death of her husband in 1941 and she has been leading it with an iron hand and great intuitions for 30 years.
The creation of R.D. is one of them. Born from the desire of making a new cuvée prestige in opposition with other Maisons, she invented the concept of récemment dégorgé (recently disgorged), which means that the wine undergoes a long aging process and that’s disgorged just before being sold. The result is a wine that is always fresh and vividly aromatic. The first vintage was 1952 which was put on the market in 1966 with extra-brut dosage, totally against the trend for that age. And that’s how a great cuvée was born.
Since then every vintage of Bollinger R.D. follows the same philosophy: most of the grapes come from their own vineyards, prevalence of pinot noir assembled with chardonnay, long aging process (at least 10 years), use of old barrels (they come from Domaine Chanson in Burgundy), remuage and disgorgement rigorously manually. Another distinctive feature (now used by many) is the disgorgement date, applied on the back label.
All these elements make the cuvée truly unique, as we were lucky to see for ourselves during the global premiere of the 2004 version yesterday in Rome. Tasting the R.D. 2004 with its three different dosages (nature, extra-brut and brut) made us understand that Madame Bollinger’s choice was not only ahead of its time, but also a demonstration of the deep knowledge of wine and terroir.
With a high predominance of pinot noir (66%) and the presence of 16 crus, of which 88% Grand Cru, in its 2004 version, the R.D. returns to the style we were used to, with a generous and full-bodied profile that we’ll discuss further in the near future.