a most singular taste to be shared
To discover Champagne Bollinger is to meet one of the last great Champagne families and share special experiences among great wine connoisseurs.
Champagne Bollinger: the custodian of nearly 200 years of family heritage
A family of passionate individuals
A history filled with characters
Athanase, Paul and Joseph
The story begins with Athanase de Villermont, who inherited a vast estate from his family on the outskirts of Aÿ. He instantly sensed the extraordinary potential of the wines of Champagne, but as a member of the aristocracy, he was forbidden from taking part in any commercial activity. Then he met Joseph “Jacques” Bollinger, who specialised in selling the wines of Champagne, and Paul Renaudin, a born-and-bred Champenois fascinated by the world of wine. On 6 February 1829, the company Renaudin-Bollinger & Cie was founded. Joseph was in charge of sales, while Paul oversaw the cellar. Athanase had founded a Champagne house that would transcend centuries.
Georges Bollinger took over management of the House. Son of the founder Jacques Bollinger and son of Louise-Charlotte Hennequin de Villermont, he would have to lead Bollinger through some of the most delicate episodes of both its own history: the phylloxera crisis, devastating the Champagne vineyard at the turn of the century, the vine-growers’ revolt in 1911, and finally the Great War from 1914. He was a town councillor at Aÿ from 1891 to 1918, and devoted all his energy to his village, which he protected from enemy looters in 1916.
Jacques Bollinger, the son of Georges, took over as head of the Champagne House on the death of his father in 1918. Jacques earned fame as an aviator during the First Wold War. In 1923, he married Elisabeth Law de Lauriston-Boubers. Jacques Bollinger took care of the future development of the business, most notably by extending the premises, building new storerooms and acquiring a residence along Boulevard du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, where the present day offices are housed. He also added to the Bollinger vineyards by purchasing vines in Tauxières.
Following the death of her husband, Madame Bollinger took over management of the House until 1971. The war made her work extremely difficult. Once it was over, she brought prosperity back to Bollinger, travelling around the world to promote the champagne brand. Her sheer determination and skill in business and champagne alike left an indelible mark on the House’s history.
Claude d’Hautefeuille and Christian Bizot
With her customary common sense, Madame Bollinger gathered around her those family members who were most able to follow in her footsteps. Firstly she taught Claude d’Hautefeuille, her niece’s husband, the ins and outs of the House. In 1950 he became a Director and launched an ambitious modernisation programme whilst respecting Bollinger’s quality requirements. Madame Bollinger appointed him Chairman in 1971 but remained closely involved until her death six years later. Madame Bollinger’s nephew, Christian Bizot, took over from Claude in 1978. A great traveller, like his Aunt Lily before him he made a point of meeting with sommeliers, restaurant owners and wine merchants to promote the House’s wines. A great Chairman, he was well known for his outspokenness and informality.
Ghislain de Montgolfier
In 1994 it was none other than the great-great-grandson of founder Joseph Bollinger who was to become head of the House. Ghislain de Montgolfier continued to develop the House with the pursuit of excellence as a guiding light. He continues to maintain a policy of voluntarily limiting amounts produced to increase quality, while remaining true to the Bollinger spirit. In 2007 his technical expertise led him to be elected as head of the Board of the Union des Maisons de Champagne and co-chairman of the Comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne.
In 2008, a new Chairman was appointed, one who is not a member of the family. This was Jérôme Philipon, a Champagne native who has built an impressive career with major industrial groups. It is the first time in the history of Bollinger that its future was entrusted to someone outside the family. Alongside the family, Jérôme Philipon continued to develop Champagne Bollinger and guarantee that its principles and values are upheld.
Charles-Armand de Belenet
In 2017, Charles-Armand de Belenet became Chief Executive Officer of Champagne Bollinger. With him, Bollinger continues to preserve its traditional craftsmanship while incorporating the best of innovative technologies, to pursue a future of commercial and quality development for the brand.
The Bollinger style: an inimitable style
The Bollinger style is inimitable and recognised as such by great connoisseurs, the fruit of rigorous methods and a respect for principles handed down from one generation to the next in a great tradition that has always valued experience above all. This style expresses the aromas of the fruit in all its dimensions. The Bollinger style has a dense and subtle presence, a balance of the intensity of great pinot noirs and the freshness of chardonnays from the Côte des Blancs. Bollinger wines release a creamy effervescence resulting from vinifying in oak barrels and prolonged contact with the yeasts. They guarantee a unique tasting experience that always offers something new. This style stems from a solid base, rooted in 5 tangible principles: the House Vineyards; pinot noir; magnums of reserve wines; the barrels and time.
The House Vineyards
Exceptional vineyards built by generation after generation
Over the years, Bollinger has built its vineyards at the heart of the finest crus in Champagne. Champagne Bollinger’s 179 hectares of vines are made up of 85% Grand and Premier crus and are farmed by our teams of growers across 7 separate vineyards: Aÿ, Avenay, Tauxières, Louvois and Verzenay for pinot noir, around the Montagne de Reims, Cuis for chardonnay on the Côte des Blancs and Champvoisy for meunier in the Vallée de la Marne.
Another of Bollinger’s distinctive features are two plots, the Clos Saint-Jacques and Chaudes Terres, which have never succumbed to phylloxera. These ungrafted vines are entirely tended by hand and reproduced using a form of layering called provignage, thereby providing the means to preserve this extraordinary heritage from which the very exclusive Vieilles Vignes Françaises cuvée is produced.
Discover a few emblematic plots
The backbone of Champagne Bollinger
Pinot noir is above all a demanding grape: it is fragile, requiring care at every step, and the wines it produces take a very long time to age. Yet Bollinger has built its reputation by showcasing this variety because of the incomparable finesse that pinot noir can bring to a wine.
Today, the pinot noir planted around the Montagne de Reims represents over 60% of the Bollinger vineyards. This also just happens to be the exact proportion it occupies in the Special Cuvée blend! Pinot noir surprises with its multiple facets and, when vinified well, the finesse of its bouquet is revealed. Its unusually high proportion in the blends is a signature of the Bollinger style, to which it lends power, body and vinosity. It has been one of the founding principles of Champagne Bollinger’s identity from the very beginning.
Winemaking in wooden barrels
The Champagne region’s last resident cooper
Entering the Bollinger cooper’s workshop (the last resident cooper of the Champagne region) is like stepping back through time. His neatly organised tools hark back to another age. Cooperage is a highly skilled craft: each one of Bollinger’s 4,000 aged barrels, of which some are nearly 100 years old, requires great attention. Learning to maintain this legacy in perfect condition requires rigorous training, which is why cooperage is a craft that must be passed on to younger generations. Bollinger attaches great importance to preserving this valuable expertise.
The reserve wines in magnum
The art of reserve.
Champagne Bollinger keeps part of its reserve wines in magnums. Every year, a portion of the best wines joins the exceptional collection of 800,000 reserve magnums destined for the Special Cuvée and Bollinger Rosé blends. This method is unique in Champagne, with its use at Bollinger documented since 1890, and is one of the great style markers of the house.
These “aromatic bombs” contribute to the complexity of the non-vintage blends and their consistency over time.
Véritables « bombes aromatiques », elles contribuent à la complexité et à la régularité dans le temps de l’assemblage des non-millésimés
Discover the “forgotten cellar”
and its old vintages
dating back over 150 years
The luxury of time
Only by descending into the subterranean world of the cellars can we fully grasp the importance of time at Bollinger. Firstly, because all the wines
are left to age on the lees for twice or three times as long as stipulated by the Champagne appellation, so that the wine can develop and gain in complexity. It is this long rest that gives that rare delicate quality to the aromas and a velvety texture to the bubbles.
This notion of time does not stop here. At Bollinger we let nature run its course; if the harvest does not reach vintage standards, we wait until the following year or even the year after that, so that quality always prevails over quantity. To take this idea even further, only the La Grande Année vintages with exceptional ageing potential will be left several years longer in the cellars, to become the famous Bollinger R.D. cuvées, delighting the taste buds of the most exacting tasters.
A responsibility anchored in time and a commitment to People, the Earth and our Roots.