Hard at work at the Bollinger lunch
A bit of a treat today. Bollinger lunch at Bruce Poole's fantastic restaurant Chez Bruce. There was a good turnout, as you might expect - someone commented that if a bomb had been placed in the restaurant, it would have taken out a sizeable portion of the UK wine press.
The food was extraordinarily good, and the fizz didn't disappoint. We kicked off with Bollinger's '2003' - a unique wine reflecting the rather unique weather conditions of that growing season. Atypical for Bollinger: light, fruity and quite expressive. A bit like a top notch new world fizz.
Ghislain de Montgolfier then gave a short speech, in which he mentioned how 2007 is shaping up. Apparently, we're looking at the earliest harvest in recent memory, because of the exceptionally hot April that led to early flowering. As long as nothing disastrous happens before late August, it should be a good one, too.
Bolling Cuvee Special followed, and this was really singing: back to the distinctive house style, that's quite intense, toasty, rich and yet fresh and balanced. The Grande Annee 1997 is a wine I've had a couple of times before and really liked. It's fresh, intense, concentrated and a little bit edgy, with good complexity. Then a rare chance to try the Vieilles Vignes Francaises 1999, of which we drank a good half of the UK's annual allocation between us (it's 12-18 bottles a year). This is quite different: rounded, complex, broad, thought-provoking. Finally, the 1995 RD is a bit of a stern beast. It's just so full-on, with massive acidity, massive flavour, massive savouriness. It will probably last a very long time - drunk now, it needs food.
Pictured: Stephen Brook (left) is entranced by Jim Budd's (foreground) shirt. Neil Beckett is also in the picture.