Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose - plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there's a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavours give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavours, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. Disgorged 22nd October, 2013. Drink from 2016.
I've encountered some bottle variation with Bollinger's 2002 Extra-Brut R. D., but this example, disgorged in 2016, was showing especially well, offering up a deep bouquet of dried fruits, orange zest, mocha, spices, English walnuts and hazelnuts. Full-bodied, broad and enveloping, with a pillowy, seamless profile and a fleshy core, it concludes with a long, sapid finish. With two grams per liter less acidity than the more incisive 2008 (which has not yet been released as R. D.), the 2002 is a giving, expansive wine that is drinking well today.
Since the year 1990 made vintage wines from Bollinger in a little fruitier more peach-scented style with slightly less pronounced smokiness and nuttiness. I was always more impressed initially by the previous style, but it feels like the differences even out over time. 2002 shows lovely shy notes of peaches and honey. It hasn't developed it's typical masses of RD-character yet. In the mouth this R.D. is typically oily and rich with notes of Champignon de Paris (!), Verzenay-dominated, stringent aroma of red apple peel. The taste is beautifully balance and harmonious. I love to drink R.D.s between 18 and 24 months after release. This is a Champagne that really benefits from being served in a Burgundy glass(!) As always this is a Champagne for true gastronomy. Like the tartar of deer and oyster mayonnaise and lemon zest that we we're served at the premiere-lunch in Stockholm. This is a grand R.D. in the making.
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. 23 crus of which 71% are Grands Crus and the rest Premiers Crus. Dosage under 4 g/l. Very firm, savoury nose with Bollinger's trademark fungi. Very powerfully so but with excellent acidity and lift on the palate. This is touted as a 50th anniversary offering because the first RD (Recently Disgorged) vintage released on the UK market was the 1952, in 1967 (so it was three years older than this 2002). It was launched at the same time as the 1953 on the French and Swiss markets and the 1955 on the American and Italian markets. A nod to British taste for seriously mature champagne? This wine should not be served too cool. It has real weight - though does not taste heavy. I loved it on first release as Grande Année and it is less austere now. A bit mellower and more open though still with the deep throat salve sensation on the finish. Drink 2014 - 2030.
Big names do not help if you are not familiar with a certain house style, and so I can understand everyone who dislikes Bollinger's 2002 RD Extra Brut, which at first sight reveals a matured if not an old wine displaying toffee, floral (hyacinths, narcissus, sage), vegetal and spicy aromas (oak, cannabis, frankincense, black bread) -- but almost no fruit (at least no fresh fruit). This wine was disgorged in March 2014, but just needs a lot of time in the glass to develop its complexity. On the palate this is a very pure, fresh, lively, firmly structured and almost ascetic wine with complexity, but almost no sensuality. Very distinctive style.