I’ve a few posts waiting in the wings for you, o dear & faithful reader — thanks to the seasonal profusion of alcohol from which we’re just emerging.
We’ve already done the sherry, so accompany me onward through my festive imbibitions. Next up? Pre-Christmas dinner champagne (courtesy of some bloke who took my parents’ old car off their hands and repaid them with a bottle of Bollinger. Which is exactly the way to do things.)
I love good champagne. Conversely, I despise the cheap, astringent carbonated pisswater that all too often comes in its stead.
Fortunately, Bollinger’s Special Cuvee is no pisswater. And if you’ve had your mouth shrivelled by one too many thin and acidic fizzes of late (which seems likely at a time of year when cheap fizz is almost mandatory), your first mouthful of Bollinger will remind you why you ever liked this stuff.
For this is a big, generous old toffee-apple sponge of a champagne. It is expansive. It has that characteristic delicious biscuit quality — except that here it’s richer than mere biscuit. More, I’d say, like the topping of a fruit crumble with oats, butter, muscovado sugar — crisped from the oven.
It’s this lovely savoury-sweetness that makes it, that frees it. It gives the wine full license to go bone dry (as we’d expect of a Champagne) without risking astringency.
Smell-wise, the apple and toffee are there, accompanied (subtly) by the aroma of expensive cigarettes.
And it’s a proper bubbler — pretty lively, not so fine a ‘mousse’ as some other champagnes.
So, yes, you have it all above. A fine ol’ champagne, balanced, savoury and delicious. And it won’t shrivel your stomach and tongue with acid. It’s a pricey enough bottle, though, at full price — so if you’re spending £30-40, you should damn well expect finesse.
That said, let it be noted that this is very much the kind of champagne I’d like to be given, were someone to take a car off my hands.
(Let it also be noted, howsoever, that I do not own a car.)