A glass of class
Champagne Bollinger’s longawaited 2004 RD vintage
“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;