Bollinger has land-owning roots in the Champagne region dating as far back as the 16th century although the house as we know it today was officially established only in 1829, by Paul Renaudin and Jacques Bollinger. In the late 19th century the prestige image of the brand began to develop and it even became the official supplier to the British court, receiving the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria.
The most significant period of its history was from 1941 to 1977, the tenure of Madame“Lilly” Bollinger, who expanded production significantly and was ahead of her time in travelling the world to promote the brand. Around this time Bollinger also acquired some of its precious pinot noir vineyards, using the grapes in the production of its two rosés.
Unusually for a Champagne house, Bollinger have been grape growers as well as producers from the beginning. The house charter states that 70% of grape supply must always come from the firm’s own vineyards, defining the standards of excellence that are synonymous with the Bollinger name.
80% of the harvest is fermented in oak barrels, making the finished wines well-suited to extended ageing and contributing body and depth of flavour. There are only two types of blends produced, both pinot noir-dominated: the non-vintage Special Cuvée is the expression of the Bollinger house style, while the vintage-dated Grande Année, produced only in exceptional years, is designed to express the inherent character of the vintage. R.D (Recently Disgorged) is the same blend as Grande Année, kept on its lees and disgorged much later.
The wines of Bollinger are always rich and distinctive in style, fine ambassadors of a house that continues to build its reputation on classic, complex Champagnes with the ability to age gracefully.