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Maison Bollinger, PN VZ19, 2019

Maison Bollinger, PN VZ19, 2019

Maison Bollinger | Champagne, France | 75cl
  • Sparkling
  • Pinot Noir
Regular price £375.00
Regular price Offer price £375.00
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Now in its 5th iteration, one of the more interesting releases out of Champagne these past few years has been the PN series from Bollinger, which brings a laser-sharp focus to some of the region's most exciting terroirs famed for Pinot Noir.  In 2015 & 2016 the team favoured Verzenay, one of Champagne's great Grands Crus, and for the third edition they chose what Richard Juhlin described as "the extremely exciting and rare Tauxières Premier Cru, which is one of two villages classified 99% on the Grand Cru scale", named PNTX 17. After a quick trip to Verzenay Tauxières & Aӱ in the form of AYC 18, we once again move back to Verzenay with this PN VZ19.

As the name may suggest, this is based on the 2019 vintage, widely tipped as one of the most exciting for some time. It was a hot one, though Verzenay is located further north and escaped some of the extremes. As Champagne expert Tyson Stelzer sums up perfectly; “2019 ranks among the best of Champagne’s recent vintages and the cool, north-eastern slopes of Verzenay uphold compelling tension in the midst of a warming climate.” The oldest wine in the blend dates back to 2009 too, adding excellent richness and signature Bollinger depth.

The series was the brainchild of Bollinger’s Chef de Caves Gilles Descôtes who sadly passed away last year having held the position since 2013. Under his stewardship, one of the most steadfast and traditional houses brought to market a fantastic new range for fans of top Pinot Noir based Champagnes to savour and it has been met with great critical acclaim.

Aged in both oak and steel to help preserve freshness, it is a Champagne giving rare insight into specific terroir in a region that is famous for blending to the nth degree.

What the critics say:

97/100Tyson Stelzer

"PN returns to its Verzenay origins (as per its first iterations as VZ15 and VZ16, followed by TX17 and AYC18). 2019 ranks among the best of Champagne’s recent vintages and the cool, north-eastern slopes of Verzenay uphold compelling tension in the midst of a warming climate. The result is a magnificent juxtaposition between the rumbling, billowing depths of ripe pinot noir like only Bollinger can conjure, thanks to the presence and magnitude of primarily Aÿ and also Avenay-val-d’Or, Tauxières, and Mutigny, and the pristine definition and lifted freshness of vibrant fruit that characterises Verzenay. Boasting a medium straw hue, it wells up with deep black and red cherry fruit, satsuma plum, blackberries and layers of anise and sarsaparilla. Barrel fermentation and a record 25 percent of reserve magnums lend their characteristic creaminess and subtle patisserie complexity, but it is the fine chalk minerality of Verzenay chalk that remains the hero of a long finish, upholding magnificent texture, tension and crystalline brightness like no other pinot village."

93-95/100Richard Juhlin

"Unsurprisingly, the 2019 base year with its richness once again received mineral-influenced Verzenay (40%) as the base terroir when Aÿ produced slightly too rich wines. The reserve wines on the magnum once again go all the way down to the tasty 2009 vintage all from Verzenay. Aÿ, Louvois, Bisseuil, Avenay, Tours-sur-Marne, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and Mutigny stand for the background chords. Currently, the champagne charms through its complex and youthfully energetic bouquet of peach peel, gooseberry, cox orange apples, sea buckthorn, geranium and marigolds. The texture is at the same time softly ripe and velvety. The breadth of flavours is magnificently orchestrated and each new sip brings additional aromas at hand. The potential alcohol content was record high from the start especially in Aÿ with 11.1 % straight away and Denis, just like me, sees great similarities between 2015 and 2019, but where the sharpness and freshness is better in 2019. It is not the acidity but rather the mineral salt that gives the freshness together with the sense of umami the concentrated grapes give. Here there is a swirl of exotic fruit and honey, but also a dry smokiness that I've learned to associate with the cluster of aromas that transforms over time into the note of railway on a hot summer's day. It might sound fuzzy, but it actually makes perfect sense. The combination of heated rail, dry gravel, dandelions and nettles that thrive in the embankment gives a concentrated warm dryness that is strongly reminiscent of the character the grapes acquire when the temperature crosses the vine's pain point on a few hot summer days. 41 degrees in the shade was a heat record in Champagne and especially a lot of shade, the vineyards in Champagne cannot boast of so the effect is reminiscent of that which arose in 1947, 1959, 1976 and 2003. Hence this aroma albeit less marked in 2019. Let's see if I'm right in 10 years when I expect that "the famous note of Railroad track" will appear in this beauty. PN VZ19 is tasted with great pleasure and intellectual challenge straight away, but personally, as usual, I will wait as long as I can before opening my own bottles to get the increasing depth of butter-fried cepp and toasted hazelnut aromas that only aging can provide."

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Maison Bollinger

Bollinger was established in 1829 and is to this day still family owned. This 007 favourite only releases vintages in exceptional years - it is also one of the few Champagne Houses to produce the majority of their own grapes for their blends.

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