Vintage 1997 in Champagne looked like a chronicle of a disaster foretold at the outset; all sturm und drang in the early part of the season, with frost, hail, millerandage, mildew, you name it, everything that the Champenois, conscious of their marginal and therefore fragile climate, were keen to avoid. And yet, and yet….after this less than promising Spring the summer was straightforward, hot in fact in July and agreeably warm in August.
A rain free harvest completed this happy ending, and the resulting wines were and still are friendly, approachable and attractive. Vintage 1997 is not one of the greats, but I have always liked its Champagnes; they are unpretentious and marked by pleasing ripe fruit flavours and moderate acidity. A particular hit for Bollinger Grande Année, and, more recently, its longer-matured sibling Bollinger RD.