We treated ourselves to a bottle of this recently, and we were blown away. The purity of the Pinot Noir component and the balance of this Champagne is utterly fabulous. There are no hard edges here, just great fine bubbles, refinement, and incredible length. This Champagne is approachable now and is drinking better than 2008, which is still a little grumpy at the moment. We were able to procure a few cases of this one in the rare magnum format, which will even be better than the 750ml bottles. Grab a bottle; you will not regret it.
Our original offer:
The 2012 Bollinger Grand Anne is a blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay from 21 crus. Sourcing mainly from Aÿ and Verzenay for the Pinot Noir and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oiry for the Chardonnay. The juice sees fermentation in 228-liter barrels and 400-liter casks that are up to 40 years old. It remains in barrel for six months, undergoing both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, which is not common in Champagne anymore. Bottling is done under cork, another old-school technique that Bollinger has stuck with, to undergo its secondary fermentation, rather than a crown capsule.
As a result, every bottle has to be hand-riddled and hand-disgorged. 2012 spent over 7+ years on the lees and has a moderate dosage of 8 grams per liter. While full and expressive, the nose offers stunning apricot, almond, and hazelnut aromas that are followed by notes of honey and cereals intertwining in a symphony of aromas, also possessing exceptional texture and structure. It is dense with a silky and long finish, yet fresh and full with a delicious refined palate. This is a gorgeous vintage for this Champagne, and some tasters think it’s even better than 2008 because of its perfect balance. Only time will tell, and it would be fun to do a side by side, years down the road.
Wine Advocate (William Kelley) 95 points! "Disgorged in July 2019, Bollinger's 2012 Brut La Grande Année is showing well, offering up an incipiently complex bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, fresh peach, orange oil, toasted walnuts and dried apricot that's still quite reserved with less than a year on cork. Full-bodied, deep and muscular, the 2012 is blockier and broader-shouldered than its 2008 predecessor, with a weightier and even more concentrated palate built around a bright spine of acidity, concluding with a chalky finish that carries appreciably dry extract. This isn't quite as elegant as the exquisite 2008, but it is a superb effort and obviously built to age."
Antonio Galloni 94 points! "The 2012 Grande Année is vibrant and wonderfully nuanced. Citrus peel, orchard fruit, brioche, dried flowers and chamomile are all finely knit in a Grand Année built on energy and persistence more than size. Readers will find a restrained Grand Année in 2012. There is plenty of the textural richness that is such a signature of the house style, but I am also struck by the wine's freshness. Best of all, the 2012 will drink well right out of the gate. It is quite expressive today, even in the early going."