Bollinger `Grande Annee` 1996 (1 x 750mL), Champagne, France. Cork closure.
In 1976, Bollinger Vintage became Grande Année; then, in 2004, "La" Grande Année… A name simple enough to illustrate its exceptional status: because only truly extraordinary years become vintage at Bollinger. La Grande Année made its screen débuts two years later, in James Bond’s Casino Royale.
A rich lemon-gold in the glass, with a strong bead, this is an appealing wine to the eye. On the nose the wine just sings its Bollinger heritage, starting with notes of Brazil nut, also caramel, and adding complexity on top there are some rather calciferous suggestions, rather like crushed sea shells or even oyster shells. There is a certain saline minerality to it on the nose, adding to this latter impression. The palate is creamy, well endowed but certainly not fat or over the top, rather it is imbued with all the oxidative style that we should expect from Bollinger, along with more of that salty minerality. Nutty, caramelly, polished, with a lingering finish, this is absolutely classic and rather robust Bollinger which is certainly approachable now, although I can't help feeling it will be better with another 5-10 years in the cellar.