Bollinger has remained as an independent Champagne house since its foundation in 1829 and is one of the 24 Grands Marques in Champagne. The estate is based in Ay and has 164 hectares spread across Grand and Premier Cru sites. The vineyards date as far back as 1585 when they were run by the Hennequins, one of the Bollinger founding families; Bollinger is still owned by the original founder’s descendants. In 1884 Bollinger became the official supplier to the British Court, thereby receiving a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. The Estate’s greatest expansion happened under the stewardship of Madame Lily Bollinger, who took over the company upon her husband’s death in 1941. Her charismatic approach to promoting her Champagne made Bollinger the world famous brand it is today. The estate is now managed by Lily Bollinger’s nephew, Ghislain de Montgolfier.
Pinot noir is the crux of Bollinger; having a dense but subtle presence, the higher percentage of pinot noir used in their wines helps to create Champagnes are balanced and complex. The Recently Disgorged (RD) style was first introduced by Lily Bollinger for the 1952 Bollinger La Grande Annee vintage and continues to be a hallmark of the brand. In addition, Bollinger keeps some of its reserve wines in magnums – a unique method – which are essential in adding the complexity to their non-vintage blends.
We think Madame Elisabeth ‘Lily’ Bollinger’s famous quote perfectly sums up the ethos of the House and the spirit in which their marvellous Champagnes should be enjoyed: “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it, unless I’m thirsty”.