Power vs. Fineness (Everyone Wins)
1996 Bollinger R.D.
Last Parcel at Lowest Pricing in the Nation
"An endless parade of toasty, decadent fresh and dried fruits defines the finish, with a gentle but insistent mineral undertone providing focus, freshness and lift. This is a must buy for Bollinger fans." - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar
Heed his advice - this is a gorgeous bottle; a flagship cuvée from a serious house and from one of - if not the - most collectible vintages in Champagne history. Antonio Galloni states simply, "It is a great version of one of Champagne’s legendary wines." (Galloni's and Raynolds' full reviews are below.)
Today we offer a small, final parcel of the 1996 Bollinger R.D. at the lowest price in the nation: $169.95.
While Bollinger is renowned for their signature richness, the R.D. is perhaps even more extreme. This is a library bottling that sees a decade on the lees in the estate's cellars before release. The effect of this aging is startling, essentially bringing the volume up another decibel or two.
And yet, it is not all about power; the R.D. displays an incredible delicacy as well, a fine-ness of mousse as well as downright steely acids and minerals. The entire form is touched with pert lemon and pineapple, all that richness joined at the hip with distinguished polish and poise. If Bollinger was just about big and powerful Champagne, it wouldn’t be nearly this thrilling. Peter Liem appropriately points out, “Bollinger’s champagnes are often known for their richness, but whenever I taste one, it’s usually its fineness that I notice first and foremost.”
It's also worth noting that part of this rich vs. fine interplay is the mark of the vintage, 1996 being so remarkable for the ripeness the grapes achieved while still maintaining gloriously high acidity - one of the prerequisites for serious ageability in Champagne. This high acidity finds a natural affinity with the open, generous style of Bollinger, its luscious fruit perching comfortably, beautifully, on wires of acid. This is really delicious.
Although many of you are rightly hiding most of your 96s in the darkest parts of your cellar, don't be afraid to keep a few of these upstairs for imminent enjoyment - that generosity and openness makes these really fun to drink now.
That said, this is a wine that is still in its youth. Let time round it out a bit, let it come into its own - another decade, for starters, seems about right - and the calm, rolling power and suaveness of the greatest Bollinger R.D.s will be on full display. We recently enjoyed a 73 R.D. that was disgorged in the mid-80s, and it was stunning.
Serious collectors already know that when you find bottles of 96 Champagne at good prices, it’s wise to act quickly and stock up. We’ve already seen what nearly 15 years can do to the best bottles (and the best in this vintage are, really, among the best of all time), and it’s truly impressive. The 96 Bollinger R.D. is no exception, and the show is only going to get more impressive. We’re noticing a distinct drop-off in the availability of 96s on the market, and this may be as low as pricing ever goes on this bottle.
To place your order, please email us at email@example.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Specialist, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar: Light gold. Dramatic aromas of ripe peach, pear, mango, musky yellow plum, fig, buttery brioche, toasted nuts and baking spices. Rich, deep and expansive on the palate, with powerful, deeply concentrated flavors of yellow peach, tropical fruit, toasted nuts, sweet butter, toffee and marzipan utterly filling the mouth. An endless parade of toasty, decadent fresh and dried fruits defines the finish, with a gentle but insistent mineral undertone providing focus, freshness and lift. This is a must buy for Bollinger fans.
Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate: The 1996 R.D. from Bollinger is another superb wine from this vintage. An expressive bouquet of spices, acacia blossoms and perfumed fruit emerges from the wine’s silky-textured frame. This generous R.D. is drinking well today, but also has enough freshness to age well for years. It is a great version of one of Champagne’s legendary wines.
Wine is pre-arrival
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