The first new Cuvee from Bollinger in over ten years, the PN VZ 15 is Bollinger's answer to grower Champagne. This is not a Cuvee trying to adapt to the market; it is a Cuvee that is here to join in on some of the grower fun, showing off the excellent Pinot Noir holdings that Bollinger has. This is a natural move, and the PN VZ is short for Pinot Noir from Verzy, which is where 50% of the Pinot is sourced, drawing some inspiration from the miraculous Cuvee VV Francaises, which demands a four-digit price. The PN VZ is based on 2015 and bends the boundary between the grower and house styles. It's a fantastic choice for those that love single sight expression and the refinement and perfection that is expected of a name like Bollinger. An incredible new Cuvee and part of a new series that will slowly roll out over the next few years. Make sure to check out Galloni's comprehensive review below.
Antonio Galloni 94 points! "A fabulous Champagne, the NV PN VZ 15 is a new wine from Bollinger and the first addition to the range in over a decade. As the name implies, it is a 100% Pinot Noir built on a core of fruit from Verzenay and based on the 2015 vintage. Bollinger’s most iconic wine is of course the super-rare and expensive 100% Pinot Noir Vielles Vignes Françaises. A few years ago, Bollinger set out on a path to exalt the unique characteristics of their Pinot. For this project, the four leads of the winemaking team headed by Cellar Master Gilles Descôtes and Deputy Cellar Master Denis Bunner were tasked with each creating a new cuvée. The conditions: the wine had to be non-vintage, 100% Pinot Noir and possible to offer at both an affordable price and with some scale. The four wines were tasted blind and the winner is the new PN VZ 15, the first in a series of upcoming releases that will explore the many shades of Pinot at Bollinger. I tasted it recently with Bunner and General Manager Charles-Armand de Belenet and was super impressed.
Bright and vibrant on the palate, the PN VZ 15 captures all of the Pinot richness that is such a Bollinger signature but with the freshness and verve that make Pinots from Verzenay so distinctive. Rich red fruit, mint, dried flower and spice notes play off bright acids and veins of saline-drenched minerals in a display of aromas, flavors and textures that dazzle all the senses. Think of it as a baby VVF, but with the tension of Verzenay. The blend is approximately 50% Verzenay and 50% Aÿ, Bouzy and Louvois, done about half in steel and half in oak. This release is based on the 2015 vintage (50% of the blend), with reserve wines that go back to 2009, including 20% from the reserve magnums Bollinger is so famous for. This bottle was disgorged in November 2019 and dosage is 7 grams per liter, about average for Bollinger today.
As I have written before, many of Champagne’s big houses have embraced the ambitious spirit of grower Champagne with their recent bottlings, wines that often place more emphasis on variety and place than the flagship blended cuvées that are the core of what Champagne has represented in the past. This is yet another example. The new PN VZ 15 is superb, and sharply priced as well, something that is not often the case with new grande marque Champagnes these days. Don’t miss it."
Allen Meadows 94 points! "An expressive nose of ripe and decidedly yeasty raspberry and cherry hints introduces utterly delicious, complex, rich and enveloping middle weight flavors that pack excellent flavor authority into a notably generous palate impression while offering excellent depth and persistence on the moderately dry finale. The effervescence isn't especially fine though it is in keeping with the relatively bold style that will allow this to be enjoyed now or held for up to another decade. Excellent."