Bollinger RD 2008
98+WA / 96VM / 97WS / 98 WFW / 97D / 97RJ
MAKE SURE you read Richard Juhlin's note below, what an incredible experience he explains in detail!
- Dosage is 3 grams
- 71% Pinot Noir mostly from Ay and Verzenay and 29% Chardonnay mostly from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant.
- The fermentation is entirely in oak barrels.
- disgorged 2022
98+ points William Kelley (Wine Advocate): "When I was tasting Bollinger's brilliant Grande Année in this vintage, I was trying to imagine how good the 2008 Extra-Brut R. D. would be, as the style of the vintage seems almost perfectly adapted to this cuvée. Four years later, we have the answer, and the wine is brilliant. Disgorged in 2022, it's more reserved out of the gates than the dramatic Grande Année was on release, unwinding in the glass with notes of crisp orchard fruit, orange peel, freshly baked bread, subtle hints of fino sherry, wet stones and macadamia nut. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with a deep core of fruit that's animated by racy acids and a refined pinpoint mousse, concluding with a bone-dry finish. Extremely harmonious and full of youthful energy, it's the finest R. D. of the decade and one that will richly reward a bit of additional age on cork. In style, the most obvious comparison is with the 1996, but the 2008 is more integrated and harmonious on release. These bottles were disgorged late last year with three grams per liter dosage. Drink: 2025-2045. (Mar 2023)"
98 points Anne Krebiehl, MW (The World of Fine Wine): "A notion of salty shortbread full of buttery richness opens the nose, followed by a citrus intensity of both lemon and fresh navel orange peel and rich hints of grilled hazelnut. More swirling brings out the telltale creaminess alongside overtones of rye bread and white pepper. The palate carries the serene sleekness and cool poise of 2008, but as the wine warms, Bollinger's legendary creaminess comes to the fore, allowing glimpses of future glory with each little aromatic bubble burst. At first, nose and palate diverge, but with time and increasing temperature, the electric freshness and innate energy of 2008 converge with a pronounced saltiness and a more accessible richness. This will age more gracefully than any of us. (Issue 80; 2023)"
97 points Simon Field, MW (Decanter): "Bright in colour with gold reflections, the aromatics are immediately captivating, with marzipan, acacia, apricot and patisserie all vying for attention. It’s impossibly youthful yet reassuringly mature, a bread basket of delicious contradiction. Cerebral seduction ensues on the palate, with dried fruits, bergamot and lime joining the party, then come the hazelnut notes – which have been identified as a leitmotif for the vintage – and a clean, almost chalky finish to restore rigorous harmony. Precision in no way undermines generosity, and generosity in no way undermines potential. A very fine piece of work all in all, tasted from magnum, alongside bottle and jeroboam. Disgorged: November 2022. Dosage: 3g/L. Drinking Window: 2023-2050. (Mar 2023)"
97 points Wine Spectator: "[$440 list] This focused Champagne is all about the graceful definition of power, with an up-front, austere edge to the steely acidity, which is softened by the fine, plush mousse and well-integrated with the rich profile. Reveals toasted hazelnut, crystallized honey, peach skin and nectarine flavors that expand on the palate, accented by hints of ground ginger, oyster shell, preserved lemon and a racy streak of salinity that drives the mouthwatering finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Disgorged October 2022. Drink now through 2038. (9/20/23)"
96-97 points Richard Juhlin (The Champagne Club): "(71% Pinot Noir, 29% Chardonnay; dosage 3%). So it was finally time for a new vintage of Bollinger R.D. One January morning during Saint Vincent, Björnstierne and I were invited into Bollinger's holiest tasting room for a prerelease of the 2008 R.D. together with Chef de Cave Denis Bunner. When I put my nose in the glass, I was teleported back to the lawn at Place Colbert in Reims in the summer of 1989. It was there and then I tasted the at the time the recently released 1979 Bollinger R.D., with my Swedish friends for the first time. It is extremely fascinating how strong the scent memory can be. My experience was so intense that for a few seconds I really found myself in another era. Considering that after the 79' I have tasted hundreds of R.D. bottles from twenty or so other vintages, I initially found it remarkable and extremely fascinating. However, it was explained when Denis told us that he factually studied his statistical logbooks to look for vintages that were similar to the 2008 he was now going to present. He then found that the numbers were almost identical to another vintage. Which one? Yes, that's right, 1979! So there was a perfectly logical explanation for my scent teleporting journey. This is something I have often thought about in my job as a blind taster. Would you be able to score all the wines you tasted before if they always tasted the same? It is, of course, a utopian question because each wine changes over time and, moreover, each bottle is unique. What I just experienced this morning in Aÿ is probably the closest to such an utopian exercise you can get thanks to the almost twin-like constitution of two vintages. What, then, shaped these twins? Simply put, it's the similarities of the weather in both years and all the decisions made by Bollinger from harvest to disgorging. Both years produced an exceptionally slow fine and cool maturation where the extra years in contact with the lees the house gives its R.D. wines are key to accentuating its aromatic magnificence. It is not always that Bollinger's La Grande Année gains so much from being presented as R.D., but in this case the boost is extra obvious. Personally, I always think that the R.D. boost is strongest in cool and acidic vintages when the autolytic character gets more space to fill the gaps in the leaner wines that are around the narrower backbone of the wine. The nutty and warm bready aromas embed the acidity in an outstandingly grandiose suit. This beautifully sparkling 2008 is surprisingly light in colour, but will surely deepen towards more golden tones in the near future a little further from its fresh disgorgement date. The colossal and wonderful scent is of such dignity that words can never do it full justice. If I do try to describe this unique perfume, it is dominated by hazelnut cream from Piedmont, Domori chocolate from Venezuela, madeleine cookies, almond paste, wood sauna, gunpowder, grilled beef, duck liver, honeysuckle, mushroom cream, honey and nougat. It takes a long time in the glass before the fruit appears and at the same time the nutty and grilled aromas tone down a bit. The taste is vibrantly fresh while being rich and grilled nutty. Here, minerality and sea aromas such as iodine and oyster shells show up together with an apricot-like sublime fruitiness. After a fresh attack, my senses are left supremely satisfied with an exemplary long aftertaste of honey. If we stick to the facts, this fantastic champagne is composed from 18 villages, with the dominant parts as usual being Verzenay and Aÿ for Pinot Noir and Le Mesnil and Cramant for Chardonnay. It is notable that the dosage was kept to a record low 3 grams of sugar. My second bottle was a bit tighter than the first, so despite my 97 points from the start, it might be wise to wait six months before opening this already legendary wine. Given that we already have many years of experience with how beautifully the twin 1979 R.D. has developed and how well the wine has stood the test of time, my advice is to drink this gem between 2024–2030. (Apr 2023)"
96 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "[$440 list] Bollinger’s 2008 R.D. is a powerful, vinous Champagne. Apricot, dried pear, tangerine oil, hazelnut, dried flowers, chamomile and brioche all race across the palate. The 2008 boasts notable depth and textural intensity, with a feeling of phenolic, almost tannin-driven grip from the Pinot that propels the finish. At times the R.D. is quite exotic, even if there is a good kick of energy from the bright, salivating acids and low dosage. The 2008 R.D. is very much a Champagne for the dinner table, a wine that benefits immensely from aeration. In 2008, the blend comprises fruit from 18 villages, 71% Pinot Noir, mostly from Aÿ and Verzenay and 29% Chardonnay, mostly from Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant. Dosage is 3 grams of dosage. I would give this a few more years in bottle to fully come together. Disgorged: October 28, 2022. Drink: 2025-2043. (May 2022)"