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Bollinger Champagne

One of the last independent Champagne houses that rose to popularity in the mid-20th century under Lily Bollinger, who once said: “I drink Champagne 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 drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it unless I'm thirsty.”

The Bollinger champagne House has created prestigious champagnes with character, distinguished by their elegance and complexity, since 1829. These outstanding wines are the result of rigorous attention to detail, for Bollinger accepts nothing less than excellence. Each and every detail represents a quest for a certain form of perfection. This uncompromisingly independent spirit, dedicated to unostentatious achievement, exemplifies the inimitable elegance for which the Champagne region is renowned and which has so impressed the Court of England that the House has been awarded the Royal Warrant since 1884.



The Bollinger vineyard covers 178 hectares, most of which are classified Grand or Premier cru. Pinot Noir predominates, a demanding grape variety with an intense character which forms the backbone of the Bollinger style. Continuity of style is ensured by an exceptional collection of over 700,000 reserve magnums, making Bollinger the only champagne House with such a wide and precise palette of aromas for their blends.As a guarantee of supreme quality, the best crus are vinified in wood thanks to a stock of 3,500 small, aged casks. The House lets its wines mature for twice as long as the appellation requirement. This is not out of vanity, but because a great wine needs the luxury of time to develop its full character.

The story began with Athanase de Villermont, the youngest son of a noble family with a brilliant destiny. A great soldier who shone during the American War of Independence, he inherited an extensive estate from his family in the Aÿ area. He immediately foresaw the extraordinary potential of the wines of Champagne, but as an aristocrat he was forbidden to become involved in trade.

He then met Joseph Bollinger, a widely travelled German who had left his country of birth to learn about the Champagne wine trade, and Paul Renaudin, a local man who was fascinated by the world of wine. The firm of Renaudin-Bollinger & Cie was founded on 6th February 1829. Joseph took care of sales and Paul of the cellar. Athanase had founded a champagne House that was to endure through the centuries.

Joseph Bollinger married Louise-Charlotte, daughter of Athanase, in 1837. In time their sons, Joseph and then Georges, took over the business. From the phylloxera crisis to the turmoil of the Great War, they were to face some of the House’s greatest challenges. Under the guidance of the two brothers, Bollinger nonetheless gained great renown and extended its vineyards considerably. In 1920 Jacques Bollinger, son of Georges, found himself at the helm of the House: a weighty burden for a 24-year old. He faced the challenge with courage, aided by his cousins Pierre and then Yves Moret de Rocheprise; for the strength of Bollinger also lies in its powerful family ties. Sophisticated, cultivated and a fluent English-speaker, Jacques increased Bollinger’s prominence across the Channel. He guided the House with great wisdom through the difficult years of recession and the Second World War, and as Mayor of Aÿ he was committed to protecting his village.

When Elisabeth Bollinger (born Law de Lauriston-Boubers) married Jacques in 1923, she was also to become passionately involved with the House’s destiny. She was only 42 when she lost her husband at the height of the war. Without hesitation and with great dignity she stepped in to take up the torch. “Madame Jacques”, as she was known within the House, threw herself heart and soul into her new role. During her many visits abroad her natural grace and charm worked wonders.

Cheerful and witty, Madame Bollinger was nonetheless a formidable strategist. A dauntless businesswoman, she was also highly perfectionist and would tolerate nothing short of excellence. She was always ready to innovate, and was the driving force behind the highly original Bollinger R.D. cuvée. The familiar image of her cycling through the vineyards is imprinted in everyone’s memories.

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 was the first time in the history of the House that its future was entrusted to someone outside the family.
With the Bollinger family’s support, Jérôme Philipon continued to develop Champagne Bollinger while guaranteeing that its principles and values are upheld.



NOW
In 2017, when Jérôme Philipon was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the family holding, Charles-Armand de Belenet became General Manager 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.

Fresh from the Winery

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