This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Vintage Champagne went to Bollinger, La Grande Année Brut 2004 (12%)

Tasted against:

  • Collet, Brut 2004
  • Henri Abelé, Soirées Parisiennes Brut 2004
  • Thiénot, Cuvée Alain Thiénot 2002


Bollinger only makes its Pinot Noir-based prestige cuvée La Grande Année about four times a decade, conditions permitting. 2004 saw a happy overlap of quality and quantity, with this Trophy-winning 66% Pinot and 34% Chardonnay blend being drawn from no fewer than 16 different villages, with an impressive 88% of the base wines made up from grand cru sites; the balance being premiers crus.

Established in 1829 by Jacques Bollinger, Bollinger is still a family-run enterprise today. Ownership of an impressive 164 hectares of vineyards in the Champagne region provides the house with an unusual and enviable degree of control over its fruit, making it less dependent on a multitude of small growers than many.

Almost uniquely in Champagne, the first fermentation for Grande Année is done entirely in old oak casks – 3,000 of which are maintained by the in-house cooper. This lends a nutty, textured veneer to the finished wine, which spends a minimum of five years on lees in bottle prior to disgorgement by hand. Reserve wines are stored under cork, not crown cap, (as are all wines at Bollinger) in 600,000 magnums, giving chef de cave Matthieu Kauffmann an impressively broad palette with which to work.

Written by Decanter