Wine of the Week

Text: Ronny Lau

Vintage: 2002   Country: France   Appellation: Champagne    Grapes: 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay 

You may know that Bollinger is James Bond’s favourite Champagne. In fact, 60% of the Bollinger’s vineyards are in Grand Cru villages, and only the first pressing juice is used to keep the high quality.

Long maturation is one of Bollinger’s specialties. Even for its basic Non-Vintage Special Cuvée, Bollinger will usually cellar age for more than twice the time required by the appellation. Bollinger has an interesting bottle created few years ago. The Special Cuvée champagne bottle is inspired by 1840s’ old bottle design, it has a narrow neck with wide base, which looks like a mini-magnum. It slows down oxidation and maturation, which helps to develop a more complex Champagne.

I personally think that 2002 is Champagne's best vintage in the 21st century, and Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut 2002 is one of the classics. The vintage was like a roller-coaster ride, which made the grape growers really nervous. There were storms in August and hails in September, when the growers felt so hopeless about the harvest, it was so lucky that it turned out to be an outstanding vintage with lesser crops, while the grapes were ripe and healthy.

R.D. (Récemment Dégorgé) means that the Champagne has spent longer time on lees inside the bottle than regular vintage Champagne, Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut 2002 has spent more than three times longer than required by the appellation. It is aromatic, refined and complex with long aging ability.

Ronny Lau

Ronny Lau is the chairman of Hong Kong Wine & Spirits Writers Association, and has been the co-chairman of Shanghai International
Wine Challenge since 2011.

He has been a wine critics since 1980, and is a wine & spirits educator for University of Hong Kong and Institute for Tourism Studies in Macau.
He is also the curator of innovative music and wine pairing CDs. In 2012, he was invited by Italian wine producer to take up the role as winemaker and released the first ever Super Tuscan made by Chinese.