Fine Wine Diary The Bailey brothers have now tasted 12082 wines in 28 years 7 months and 8 days
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Bollinger dinner at Harvey-Nichols 21/07/2005 (TNB)

I've occasionally remarked on tasting Bolly that it is a bit heavy for me, but it may just be that it is not a tasting wine. Certainly I have not actually drunk it properly for a while and so it was interesting to have a few of the wines at this dinner.

After all, this is a house with some pretty big pluses. It remains a family business with very much its own philosophy, such as the fact that it stores all its reserve wines in corked magnums. (The choice of cork is interesting in relation to the general debate on bottle closures - apparently they believe crown caps leak a bit after five or so years.) They keep matters simple and don't produce endless special cuvees and variants. I think one can see a clear commitment to quality that has stood the test of time.

Drinking proper glassfuls at the event, I liked the wines a lot. The NV is excellent (why do I have so little?) and the RD 1995 an absolute treat. I was a little less taken with the 1997 which was rather soft and forward for me (the vintage to a large extent, I expect) and the rather odd RD 1990: fascinating in its way but very mushroom and truffle, quite maderised. I wonder a bit if this last was a typical bottle.

On the down side, it is said that Bollinger have raised prices quite fast in the last year or so in order to raise themselves to what they feel (and indeed might well in fact be) their rightful place in the market. So buying the vintage wine has become an indulgence and I may have to stick with my couple of bottles of the 82, bought long ago. But overall this was a pleasant reminder of what a good house this is. Don't be a Lager Lout - be a Bollinger Brut.

Dinner added to Fine Wine Diary 21/08/2005   Return to top