A glass of class

Cham­pagne Bollinger’s lon­gawaited 2004 RD vin­tage

Esquire (UK) - - STYLE -

“I think of Bollinger as be­ing er­mine-lined, frankly,” says Tom Har­row, wine di­rec­tor of Hon­est Grapes in Lon­don’s Brix­ton. “It has a sense of op­u­lence and the RD is the best ex­pres­sion of that.” Stand­ing for “re­cently dis­gorged,” RD refers to a tech­nique the Bollinger fam­ily has em­ployed since the Six­ties whereby cer­tain bot­tles of its Cham­pagne are im­bued with ex­tra flavour by rest­ing for longer than nor­mal while laid down with yeast col­lect­ing in the neck (or “on the lees”). This month, the house re­leases its 2004 RD vin­tage, which was dis­gorged in Novem­ber.

“The 2004 has been an­tic­i­pated with great keen­ness,” Har­row says. “There is a lovely au­tolytic ripeness on the nose, with just a touch of pa­paya. The mo­ment you let it breath, there are more candy tones and pre­served gin­ger.” Em­i­nently drink­able now, it would equally ben­e­fit from another five–10 years’ age­ing… but who can wait that long? We couldn’t, and en­joyed it in a proper wine glass (not a flute) paired with cheeses. “A Gruyere or a Comté younger than one would nor­mally want to eat it,” sug­gests Har­row, “be­cause you’ve got this fan­tas­tic umami char­ac­ter in both the cheese and the wine.”

To sam­ple the vin­tage be­fore you buy, the RD will be avail­able by the glass in se­lected bars, in­clud­ing 67 Pall Mall, SW1.


Cham­pagne RD 2004 12% ABV, £180/75cl by Bollinger;

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