2002 Bollinger Extra Brut R.D.

Year: 2002
Appellation: Champagne
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 96
James Suckling: 99
Burghound: 94--Jancis Robinson: 96--John Gilman: 95+
Sparkling Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.0%
Price :

2016 James Suckling Top 100: #38

60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay

"A fine example of power married to elegance, this is impeccably balanced, with a mouthwatering palate of crème de cassis, toasted brioche, fleur de sel and crystallized honey flavors. The rich, smoky underpinning is carried on a finely detailed bead. Disgorged March 2014. Drink now through 2030. From France. -A.N." (WS)

"Big names do not help if you are not familiar with a certain house style, and so I can understand everyone who dislikes Bollinger's 2002 RD Extra Brut, which at first sight reveals a matured if not an old wine displaying toffee, floral (hyacinths, narcissus, sage), vegetal and spicy aromas (oak, cannabis, frankincense, black bread) -- but almost no fruit (at least no fresh fruit). This wine was disgorged in March 2014, but just needs a lot of time in the glass to develop its complexity. On the palate this is a very pure, fresh, lively, firmly structured and almost ascetic wine with complexity, but almost no sensuality. Very distinctive style." (WA)

"Bollinger's 2002 R.D. is striking in its beauty. Silky and caressing on the palate, the 2002 impresses for its exceptional balance and harmony. In 2002 so many Champagnes are ripe and explosive in style, but the 2002 R.D. is quite restrained by comparison. Hints of apricot pit, smoke, almonds, spices and pears ring out on the super-finessed, inviting finish. The 2002 is going to be nearly impossible to resist in its youth, but it should also age impeccably. All the elements are in the right place. Dosage is 3-4 grams per liter." (VM)

"There is a trace of reduction present though it's not so much as to mask the elegant and really lovely brioche, citrus and green apple nuances. There is a notably refined bead to the mousse that is dense yet not aggressive allowing the beautifully delineated yet subtly shaded flavors to shine before culminating in a beautifully long, complex and classy finish. As the RD almost always is this is full-flavored yet it arguably drinks like a blanc de blanc because of its purity and subtlety. In a word this is gorgeous and while it could be drunk now I would advise continuing to hold it for another 4 to 7 years first." (BH)

"Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose - plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there's a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavours give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavours, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. Disgorged 22nd October, 2013. Drink from 2016." (JS)

"60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. 23 crus of which 71% are Grands Crus and the rest Premiers Crus. Dosage under 4 g/l. Very firm, savoury nose with Bollinger's trademark fungi. Very powerfully so but with excellent acidity and lift on the palate. This is touted as a 50th anniversary offering because the first RD (Recently Disgorged) vintage released on the UK market was the 1952, in 1967 (so it was three years older than this 2002). It was launched at the same time as the 1953 on the French and Swiss markets and the 1955 on the American and Italian markets. A nod to British taste for seriously mature champagne? This wine should not be served too cool. It has real weight - though does not taste heavy. I loved it on first release as Grande Annee and it is less austere now. A bit mellower and more open though still with the deep throat salve sensation on the finish. 19/20" (JR)

"The 2002 Bollinger R.D. is the finest young vintage of this bottling that I have ever had the pleasure to taste. The nose is still fairly tight and youthful, but also deep and pure, wafting from the glass in a malange of tart orange, apple, stony minerality, sourdough bread, caraway seed, smokiness and a nice topnote of white flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and nascently complex, with a rock solid core, utterly refined mousse, crisp acids and stellar length and grip on the perfectly balanced and very refined finish. I love the synthesis here of the depth and ripe purity of the 2002 vintage and the very tightly-knit and precise structural chassis of the wine. A beautiful wine in the making, the 2002 Bollinger R.D. is certainly drinkable today, but it will really blossom with three or four more years of bottle age. 2014-2035+. 95+" (JG)

Winery Notes:
R.D. (Recently Disgorged) is the result of a great vision of Madame Bollinger, R.D. is a magnification of the very best that the Champagne region’s terroir has to offer. R.D. starts as a Grande Année, the prestige cuvée of Bollinger, and is allowed to mature for an extra 8 to 20 years, sometimes more. This special aging allows the wine to maintain a unique combination of freshness and vivacity, while developing delicate and complex aromas. The result is a unique style of its own that is highly acclaimed by Bollinger lovers and true wine connoisseurs. The disgorgement date - clearly stated on the back label - is informational. It does not mean that R.D. should be consumed soon afterwards. Much to the contrary, the R.D. wines are characterized by an impressive capacity to age, not only before, but also after the date of disgorgement.

Golden with subtle highlights

Aromas of stewed ripe fruit, particularly quince, but also a descreet note of honey. These are followed by roasted notes of cocoa, which give way to flavors of star anise and nutmeg.

Full bodied attack. Powerful but well-balanced, with persistent flavor. Mineral finish with touches of lemon revealing a pleasing bitterness.