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November 26, 2004

88 Bollinger, R.D.

I understand mortality now. Disgorged in May 2000, the 88 Bollinger R.D. is passing away. The vapid carbonation -- going nearly still after several minutes in the glass and almost bloating while it is there -- lends a jarring fullness to the wine. The nose is powerful and dynamic with notes of toasted butter, hazelnuts, and pastry crust. The palate begins with much the same, perhaps with some toned down lemon mousse in the background, but quickly dies off. It finishes fast and leaves a disintegrated taste of vanilla, like 1er cru Burgundy in a bad year. All that said, this is nothing short of spectacular in the sheer amount of sensations it brings to my face. But structurally, it feels like it's trying too hard. To replace the confused, sometimes grapey fruit, the wine gives off smoky phenols that remind me of the 88 Sugot, though those too seem artificial. I can't tell if the parts are here or if they've already trailed off for this to be a great wine, but I suspect that those 12 years on lees did little more than age this puppy in dog years and now, with four-and-a-half years in the bottle, it's starting to have trouble with its hind legs.


Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

A complete revision to what I thought this wine to be, last night's tasting of this same wine left me floored with a wealth of delicious sensations. While it is still incredibly full-bodied, that is very much the Bollinger style. The nose is plush with grape juice and grape bubble gum aromas, a fruitiness with plays decidely well against the very bright palate. As of today, this wine is in top form and one of the best 88s I've had.

11:23 AM  

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