It is about time I wrote something on here! Though I cannot say that I have been bored, my only excuse that I have been writing too much and too many email yet none about Champagne.
I do admit that my Champagne intake has hardly dimished.
I have been following every vintage of Bollinger since 1990 harvest which of course had ideal characteristics and great longevity. The youth of the wine was best manifest in Bollinger's RD 90. The next best year was 95 which was a relief to everyone in Champagne that finally something truly structured came about. I fell in love with 95. Then came 96. On paper it looked just as ideal as 90 but it had one minor problem and that was a complex acidity where some houses declared that 96 was difficult without MLF (malolactic fermentation). I tasted 96 at Bollinger and my first comment was 'just like 90 save the MLF'. The person who was showing me around was shocked that I could spot it.
Anyway, years 97, 99, in VVF also 98, 2000 and I followed like a true stalker! Nearly at every bottle I sighed with disappointment. Don't be fooled! The disappoitment was a natural result of not discovering something sensational becuase 90, 95, 96 were completely sensational if not surreal! In general all La Grande Annee are great but there come times when they reach heights that very very few Champagnes can match and there are genuinely fewer than 5 in the last 10 years that I have tasted (that is 30 years of vintages).
Came La Grande Annee 2002 and I thought: 'oh will there ever be something sensational again?'. 2002 did not impress me. It was great a typical bollinger but....I had to have it and I was obliged to drink it.
And then arrived the 2004 harvest and my God I shouted: 'Finally!' and yes, I finally had my sensational Bollinger Grande Annee back in my life!
So the point is, even though 2002 was proclaimed the best since 1996 it is yet to develop to something the 2004 is already showing. And I am not going to be far from the mark by saying that these two vintages will be referenced in tandem just as 88, 89 and 90 were regarded as trilogy. I did leave out 2003 as that was a year very special and very unique.