Bollinger La Grande Année 2012

Bollinger La Grande Année 2012, 12%, Champagne, France

(£440 for 6 in bond, J&B)

Watch out champagne lovers: 2012 is not a vintage to miss.

And Bollinger’s La Grand Année (LGA) 2012 is a wine to buy, even if you have to beg, borrow or steal. It’s that good.

It’s a wine that manages to be both utterly hedonistic and seriously grounded. On the one hand, it’s rich and generous, with all-consuming flavours of warm brioche, roasted nuts and baked apple. Underscoring it all is a juicy acidity and mineral, almost salty grip on the palate.

And that’s just the straight LGA.

The rosé is also looking magisterial, with elegant Pinot Noir scents and a serious, vinous, food-friendly flavour profile and texture.

Comparing the two wines side by side, it’s hard to believe the only difference between them is the 5% of red Pinot Noir added to the rosé. It seems so much younger than the straight LGA. But give it time and it looks set to become a delicious wine in time too.

Tasting both these wines at their launch in February 2020, I asked a fine wine merchant why they sold so much LGA.

‘Because it’s one of the ultimate insider wine tips for quality,’ he replied. ‘They make so little of it, especially compared to other prestige cuvées, the quality’s amazing and it’s cheap by comparison to other similar wines.’

The latter comment may seem strange given LGA 2012 doesn’t end up being far off £100 a bottle – having gone up 10% over the (highly rated) 2008 vintage. But the quality speaks for itself and there can be value even in this context.

A good vintage of LGA is my favourite from the Bollinger stable (even though it’s not their most expensive wine) and this 2012 most definitely qualifies.

(9/10, Peter, Feb 2020)