One of the principal, historic Champagne Houses, Bollinger has built up its fine reputation over generations of family ownership. The sons of an original founder, Jacques Joseph Bollinger, expanded the estate by purchasing vineyards in nearby villages, and the brand became firmly established when the Royal Warrant for supplying the British Court of Queen Victoria was received in 1884. Further production expansion and assiduous promotion on her travels by Madame Lily Bollinger, after taking over in 1941, ensured a world-wide following, appreciative of the traditional approach and commitment to style. Since 2008, for the first time in its history, the house is not run by a family member; however, Jérôme Philipon continues to maintain the principles and values based on standards of excellence set out in the company Charter of 1992.
Bollinger’s high quality results from most of its own vineyards being well-sited in Grands and Premiers Crus villages, enabling 60% of production to be covered internally (when the average is around 11%). It is characterized too by the predominance given to the Pinot Noir variety, used as a base for blending, due to the grape’s special vinosity, complexity and structure-giving properties. Another distinctive feature is that wines are made exclusively from the cuvée or first-run juice, with the first fermentation unusually carried out in oak barrels, and very often in small casks so that the different crus and varieties can be carefully selected and the unique characteristics of the vines more easily preserved. In particular, Bollinger only produces two different blends: Special Cuvée (non-vintage) and the Grande Année (vintage), with R.D (recently disgorged) starting out as the latter but aged for longer.