Bollinger Champagne has always been known for its full-bodied, powerful Champagnes, recently launching its newest wine, La Grande Année, here in the UK.
There’s always a ripple of excitement within the wine community when a new Bollinger vintage comes onto the market. It is the result of years of great craftsmanship and in the case of Bollinger’s prestige cuvée, seven years of patience to allow the wine to mature in its cellars.
To mark the launch of its newest vintage, the Champagne brand enlisted the culinary expertise of chef Peter Eaton at Michelin-starred The Woodspeen to create a show-stopping meal to pair with the new wine, along with a selection of its finest bottles. What became clear when we sampled the 2014 vintage of Bollinger La Grande Année and its rosé equivalent, is what wonderful gastronomic wines they are.
Cornish lobster tail was the star of the show, beautifully presented with ‘claw’ cannelloni, a seaweed cracker and a dabble of caviar, layered with a hazelnut dressing and a more piquant lemongrass Champagne sauce served touchingly from a Bollinger half bottle. To echo Bollinger MD Charles-Armand de Belenet's comments, the dish was the product of great craftsmanship that reflected the craftsmanship of the wine and, despite 2014 being weatherwise one of the toughest vintages on record, the wine displayed all the hallmarks of a classic but notably elegant Grande Année vintage: oyster shell minerality, hints of exotic fruit – particularly mango, grapefruit and nectarine – and a precise shaft of acidity that gave the wine great freshness.
What impressed deputy cellar master Denis Bunner, was the way the dish’s elements showed off the Grande Année’s characterful chalkiness, sea-air saltiness and iodine notes which helped give the wine a refined intensity.
Creedy Carver duck breast with whipped liver parfait won applause for its tenderness and flavour. The dish was given a nice contrast of textures and flavours by accompaniments of poached quince and potato and duck leg terrine, and was served with Bollinger’s Cote aux Enfants 2016 Pinot Noir from Ay.
But perhaps the most interesting pairing was the multi-textured baked Alaska with sweet and deep-flavoured gariguette strawberries, lime parfait, sour dough brioche and Madame Bollinger estate honey. It was a sumptuous dish that provided a bright canvas for the Bollinger La Grand Année Rosé 2014, made with a 5% slug of the Cote aux Enfants 2016, that showed off its precise freshness, bright apricot and peach notes and smokey, nutty complexity. Serious stuff!
Bollinger Grand Année 2014 is set to be released later in Spring. Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé 2014 will be released later in the year.
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