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Bollinger Champagne Extra Brut R.D. 2008

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From Bollinger: Today, Bollinger R.D. 2008 is lively and exceptionally complex, taking us on a journey outside time. Hazelnuts, with all their freshness and generosity, are the perfect ingredient to echo a wine of such splendour.


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Walking the storied caves of Champagne Bollinger in the renowned village of Aÿ, you can’t help but wonder if everyone who works here is a little crazy. This is the wine industry, and Champagne's maisons are famous for capitalistic pursuits. Yet at Bollinger, decisions seem to be focused between the bounds of science and artistic expression. Excellence is the priority, no matter the cost.

This pursuit of excellence began with Madame Bollinger. Of course, there were a slew of men who’d established and expanded the estate over the century before her, but it was this 42-year-old widow who changed its destiny.

Maybe being widowed at the height of WWII inspired her to take nothing for granted. Each step in the production was held up to rigorous examination. Pressing, fermentation and aging vessels, blending components, closures for secondary fermentation, time sur latte, riddling and of course dosage levels. If it touched the juice or the wine, it was scrutinized.

For instance, she discovered that when aged up to 5 years — as Bollinger's Special Cuvée is, much longer than any other Maison’s non-vintage wine — the wine was best kept under a crown cap (like a beer top) before disgorgement. Any longer than that, and a natural cork was optimal. While expensive and laborious, it better protects the wine from oxygen, allowing it to age more gracefully for longer. All of the vintage wines only use cork.

Famously, the house's reserve wine is aged in a collection of 800,000 magnums, each under cork with a touch of sugar and yeast for freshness. The expense of materials and labor for this step is mind boggling. But it's a major component in the Special Cuvée blend because it continuously presents the best results.

Finally, this one of two houses to ferment entirely in oak (the other is Krug). Bollinger recently hosted a blind tasting of special bottles of Champagnes fermented in either stainless steel, 5-, 25-, or 50-year-old barrels. The differences were stark — the older the barrel, the better, for unbeatable mouthfeel and structure. To maintain their enormous stock of barrels (some are up to 100 years old), they employ an in-house cooper, the last property in the region to do so. Special Cuvée, again, benefits from this devotion to quality.

Bollinger is one of three family-owned Champagne houses, and has been making consistent and exceptional wines for generations. We spend a lot of time extolling the virtues of Champagne’s fast-changing grower movement that we sometimes forget to appreciate what has been in front of us all along. Today, we celebrate Bollinger's commitment to their art form, no matter how crazy their methods may seem.

Professional Reviews

Robert Parker

RP 98
"When I was tasting Bollinger's brilliant Grande Année in this vintage, I was trying to imagine how good the 2008 Extra-Brut R. D. would be, as the style of the vintage seems almost perfectly adapted to this cuvée. Four years later, we have the answer, and the wine is brilliant. Disgorged in 2022, it's more reserved out of the gates than the dramatic Grande Année was on release, unwinding in the glass with notes of crisp orchard fruit, orange peel, freshly baked bread, subtle hints of fino sherry, wet stones and macadamia nut. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, with a deep core of fruit that's animated by racy acids and a refined pinpoint mousse, concluding with a bone-dry finish. Extremely harmonious and full of youthful energy, it's the finest R. D. of the decade and one that will richly reward a bit of additional age on cork. In style, the most obvious comparison is with the 1996, but the 2008 is more integrated and harmonious on release. These bottles were disgorged late last year with three grams per liter dosage." -Robert Parker


D 97
"Bright in colour with gold reflections, the aromatics are immediately captivating, with marzipan, acacia, apricot and patisserie all vying for attention. It’s impossibly youthful yet reassuringly mature, a bread basket of delicious contradiction. Cerebral seduction ensues on the palate, with dried fruits, bergamot and lime joining the party, then come the hazelnut notes – which have been identified as a leitmotif for the vintage – and a clean, almost chalky finish to restore rigorous harmony. Precision in no way undermines generosity, and generosity in no way undermines potential. A very fine piece of work all in all, tasted from magnum, alongside bottle and jeroboam."

Wine Spectator

WS 97
"This focused Champagne is all about the graceful definition of power, with an up-front, austere edge to the steely acidity, which is softened by the fine, plush mousse and well-integrated with the rich profile. Reveals toasted hazelnut, crystallized honey, peach skin and nectarine flavors that expand on the palate, accented by hints of ground ginger, oyster shell, preserved lemon and a racy streak of salinity that drives the mouthwatering finish. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay."


  • Grape Variety

    Chardonnay , Pinot Noir

  • Vintage


  • Size


  • Farming Practice


  • Style

    Earthy , Elegant , Minerally

  • Sweetness

    Champagne Extra Brut , Dry

  • Body

    Medium Bodied

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