Recently, my close buddy Jaclyn traveled to Los Angeles. We enjoyed some delicious meals together, including a highly anticipated trip to Animal, the epicenter of snout-to-tail dining, with our friend Jeff. I pondered what type of alcohol to choose as the meals practically exclusively have an animal-based component. I could have safely chosen a Bolinger Special Cuvee Brut Champagne instead of a Bollinger Burgundy or Beaujolais.
The underutilization of Champagne and other sparkling wines as meal pairing partners has been highlighted by many experts. This is unfortunate because Brut Champagne is perhaps one of the most adaptable wines. For example, the mineral notes may pair perfectly with oysters, and the effervescence can awaken the tongue after a thick piece of ribeye. Their baseline non-vintage offering, the Bollinger Special Cuvee, is primarily made of Pinot Noir, followed by Chardonnay and a little amount of Pinot Meunier. Bolinger ages its Champagne in oak barrels and undergoes some malolactic fermentation, giving it similar toastiness and richness to Krug. Unlike Krug, this product retails for approximately $60. This wine was rich, creamy, and barely tart.
The restaurant is great, by the way. Make sure to order the sandwiches with pork belly. The greatest thing I had that evening, aside from the wine, of course, was the pork belly, which is melt-in-your-mouth tender. Other notable dishes included the Buffalo-style pig tails with a spicy, pleasant vinegary sauce and, oddly enough for such a place, the Brussels sprouts with pancetta, Parmesan, and a soft-poached egg.
The term cuvee is unrelated to sweetness or any other aspect of style, such as flavor, aroma, or structure. But brut refers specifically to sweetness because it denotes fewer than 12 grams of sweetness per liter. Vielles Vignes Francaises, a lesser-known but superb Blanc de Noir Champagne from Bollinger, is extremely rare and commands extremely high prices as a result. The rare ungrafted grapes from the Grand Cru Village of Ay often yield only 250 cases. Bollinger is currently one of the last independent Champagne houses standing. Bollinger, known for its Pinot Noir-driven blends, always goes above and beyond, maturing each of its Champagnes for periods that are double, triple, or even four times longer than those required by the appellation.
A excellent representative of a family that continues to establish its name on producing classic, complex Champagnes with the capacity to age gracefully, Bollinger wines are consistently rich and distinctive in style. In the modern era, Bollinger is best recognised for its legendary vintage Champagne Grande Annee, the single-plot vineyard Champagne VVF and the unique late harvest prestige cuvee Bollinger R.D. For instance, the Bollinger Rose, The Favori Rose Champagne grand Cru, The Nicolas Feuillatte reserve exclusive Rose, or The Ruinart Rose. Typically, these Champagnes can be kept for up to three years. After that, the beautiful fruit disappears and oxidised, potentially even musty, odors may start to appear.