Blow Minds Valentine’s Day with Bollinger, La Grande Année, 2004, Brut, Champagne, France

Valentine’s Day is Friday.  You’re screwed.  Posh restaurants filled up months ago.  Not a single gift works.  All that survives are roses from Columbia and chocolate that tastes worse than the heart box it spawned from.

You want to wow that significant other?  Well procrastinator, Wayward Wine will help you blow their mind.

Buy Champagne.  Not Prosecco.  Not Moscatto.  Not beer.  Not “Sparkling Wine” in a box. Just buy Champagne, from France.

But to truly stop their heart, splurge on vintage Champagne.  You can tell them that most Champagne is a (cheaper) non-vintage blend upwards of thirty harvests.  Vintage Champagne is only made in those rare years, when conditions (meteorological and economical) are ideal.  Each release tastes different because each year was different.

But to be safe, buy Bollinger.  Why?  Although recently derided for it, Bolli does not add sulfur upon bottling.  Sulfur keeps other Champagnes taught, young, and age-able.  But V-Day is Friday.  You don’t want to tear your honey bear’s face off with citrus peel and chalk.  Nor do you have time to cellar it.  So buy a bubbly that’s time-traveled:

Bollinger, La Grande Année, 2004, Brut, Champagne, France


The chocolate just looked amazing.

Here’s what to expect:

Appearance: It looks like clear, limpid, like gold foil, with fine, casual bubbles strolling up the glass.

Aromas: The nose already smells developed, with pronounced notes of raw and baked cinnamon apples, raw pumpkin purée, and nutty Sherry.  It smells like already old Champagne, which is fantastic.

Palate: That off-dry sliver of residual sugar barely hides the rapier sharp acidity.  Lowish alcohol (12%) makes for a medium body, but the texture feels creamy and round.

Flavors: Already up front and bold flavors remind the neurons of baked gold apple and almond flour.  Lemon pith and chalk recall that this Champagne is still a decade young.  But that lush, nutty, oxidative, sherry cask endures forever.  Rolling for a long length.

The quality is outstanding (5 of 5).

Bolli’s 2004 seems old, but inside coils a punchy, citrus-pithy, youth.  It’s Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button: young, wild, yet seemingly mature on the surface.

benjamin button


Maybe that’s not the sexiest metaphor in the world.  But it’s still Brad Pitt people.  OK fine, think of Jefferson’s hand-made home of Monticello:



It looks like a Roman Temple from millennia ago.  But it was built relatively recently.  It is a perfectly balanced, harmonious whole.  It seems simple, maybe charming at first, but becomes bold, and complex, full of shapes and angles, if you look long enough.  Yet it is Neoclassical, retro, a bit confused, but so nearly perfect.

So this Valentine’s Day, knock socks off with a Champagne that tastes like it’s been cellared for decades: Bollinger, La Grande Année, 2004, Brut, Champagne, France

PS: If you really want to impress, find St. Nuage, or any quality soft, ripe, triple-creme brie from France to pair with it. Happy Valentine’s




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6 Responses to Blow Minds Valentine’s Day with Bollinger, La Grande Année, 2004, Brut, Champagne, France

  1. We’ll be popping a bottle of Camel Valley Pinot Noir Brut in our house on Friday!

  2. Excellent choice–you can never go wrong with a bottle of Bolli! I would also add Chaource to the cheese plate–the only cheese from Champagne!

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