Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francaises, Champagne, France, 2013
Grapes: 100% Grand Cru d'Ay Pinot Noir, ungrafted vines, disgorged March 2022
Vieilles Vignes Françaises is a taste of Champagne in bygone days: a very small production from miraculously preserved and un-grafted vines, grown the traditional way. In the early 20th century, the vines of Champagne were destroyed by phylloxera. Everything had to be replanted using American rootstock, to fight the pest. Two walled Bollinger plots classified as Grands Crus: Chaudes Terres, and Clos St Jacques, in Aÿ remain ungrafted. These plots were grown the traditional way, following the propagation method - provignage. This method allows a small proportion of an aerial stem to be trained under the soil where new roots can grow, creating an independent plant in its own right. Worked by hand and even sometimes with the help of a cart-horse. Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises is a symbol of a bygone era: a reminiscent, extraordinary legacy. Maturation duration is more than twice the required time set forth by the appellation.
Deep gold in colour. On the nose, the wine opens with roasted aromas (nutty and toasty), later accompanied by subtle mirabelle and red plum notes. The flavours are pronounced and have characteristic smoothness and depth. Flavours linger impressively in the mouth, producing wonderful notes of nuts, spices (vanilla, cardamom) and verbena. The wine has a remarkable length, marked by a lemony, chalky finish
"The 2013 Vieilles Vignes Francaises is a powerhouse. Deep in color, the 2013 is rich and ample in feel. Apricot, spice, orange jam, cedar, dried herbs, ginger, honey and leather all meld together in a VVF that is decidedly opulent and vinous, despite the cool season and harvest that took place on September 27, late by present-day standards. Sadly, production has decreased steadily since 2008. Accumulated drought has been a challenge. Those conditions are, of course, amplified by the walls of the clos in these two parcels and the naturally warm climate of Aÿ. I find the 2013 decidedly exotic and a bit on the heavy side. Those lucky enough to own it will experience one of the most distinctive wines in all of Champagne. Production was less than 1,000 bottles."
95/100 points, Antonio Galloni, VINOUS
"A brilliant wine, Bollinger's 2013 Blanc de Noirs Vieilles Vignes Françaises is finer boned and more elegant than the powerhouse 2008, but it is still one of the most powerful, intensely flavored wines produced in the region. Wafting from the glass with a deep bouquet of golden orchard fruit, honeycomb, baking spices, orange oil and ripe stone fruits, it's full-bodied, broad and fleshy, with a layered core of fruit girdled by racy acids. Concentrated and vinous, it concludes with a long, saline finish."
97/100 points, William Kelley, WINE ADVOCATE, August 2022
Best served between 10 and 12°C. Pairs with many fine dishes and stands up well against richer, fuller flavoured foods such as white caviar and truffle.
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- Ready to drink but will improve in good storage
- Primary Grape/Blend:
- Champagne Blend
- Influence of Oak: