Champagne Bollinger RD 2008 Launches in Style

Words by
Lisa Barnard

24th March 2023

Spencer House in St James's was a spectacular setting to celebrate the launch of Champagne Bollinger RD 2008 (Récémment Dégorgé or Recently Disgorged), its legendary prestige Cuvée. SPHERE’s Lisa Barnard has a first taste and discovers the 2008 vintage surpasses all expectations.

Bollinger's MD Charles-Armand de Belenet and Chef de Cave Denis Bunner toast Bollinger RD 20082008
Bollinger's MD Charles-Armand de Belenet and new Chef de Cave Denis Bunner toast the launch of R.D 2008

Bollinger RD 2008 Launch

The wait is over. The much-anticipated release of Bollinger RD 2008, one of the most revered Champagne vintages of the 21st century and one of the last 2008s to be launched on the market, est arrivé.

Bollinger RD or ‘recently disgorged’ is Bollinger’s famous prestige cuvée and only produced in exceptional vintages. Its method allows a great Champagne vintage to remain remarkably fresh despite its age, as it is disgorged just a few months before it comes on to the market. This was the inspiration of Madame Bollinger, who had the bold idea in 1952 to put the disgorgement date on the label, and developed a recently disgorged old vintage (1967) with a dosage (topping up) of an extra-brut. 

Bollinger RD 2008 pouring en Magnum
Bollinger RD 2008 pouring en Magnum

Champagne Bollinger is known for its dominant Pinot Noir style and RD 2008 is no exception, with 71% Pinot Noir and 29% Chardonnay. The grapes are selected from 18 Grands and Premiers Crus, mostly from Aÿ, Verzenay, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant for Chardonnay. The first fermentation takes place in barrel adding complexity to the wine, and secondary fermentation is in Bollinger’s atmospheric cellars beneath the village of Aÿ. Only exceptional vintages will withstand such long ageing on lees. The ageing of the 2008 vintage has been completed for the first time in a unique narrow-necked bottle which mimics the lees contact of a magnum (which is the ideal size for ageing of Champagne), and then disgorged in winter 2022, with a record low dosage of just 3g/litre – ready for its debut in spring and very much ready to drink.

Spencer House, Great Room for launch of Bollinger RD 2008
Spencer House, Great Room

Tasting Note Bollinger RD 2008

So what does this beguiling Champagne taste like? Bollinger RD 2008 is joy personified. Given it is 14 years old, it is surprisingly light gold in colour with an energetic bead of fine bubbles. It evolves beautifully both in aroma and on the palate and entices the taster throughout: notes of hazelnut, almond, honey before the fruit emerges  – apricots, peaches  – followed by a delicious dessert melange of nougat, brioche, orange peel and marzipan. The mouthfeel is gorgeous with the elegance of its effervescence and a pleasing, almost salty, minerality, due to its fresh disgorgement date. Perfectly balanced, the wine is exquisite now, but it’s clear the 2008 RD will last and develop for at least a decade. If your budget stretches to it, buy a bottle and keep it for something very, very special.


SPHERE's Lisa Barnard at Spencer House for Bollinger RD 2008
SPHERE's Lisa Barnard at Spencer House

Spencer House extravaganza

With typical Bollinger panache, the release of the RD 2008 was launched in style at Spencer House in St James’s, at a dinner hosted by Managing Director Charles-Armand de Belenet and Denis Bunner in his first major launch since taking over as Chef de Cave at the Maison. One of London’s most magnificent aristocratic palaces, Spencer House was built in the 18th century for John, First Earl Spencer, an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales. It was one of the most sumptuous private residences built in London and it was a treat to experience Bollinger RD in the splendour of its State rooms.

7 Pipes & Drums of the Scottish Regiment outside Spencer House for Bollinger RD 2008
Pipes & Drums of the Scottish Regiment outside Spencer House

Guests were welcomed by the Pipes and Drums of the London Scottish Regiment, as a tribute to Madame Bollinger’s Scottish descent. The menu was carefully designed, matching the 2008 vintage in every course with the Piedmont hazelnut, grown by Emanuele Canaparo on his terroir in Langhe, Italy — an IGP protected product. A surprise older vintage of RD was served blind and despite the plethora of experienced palates in the room, only a handful guessed correctly that it was the RD 1979, another testament to the RD concept.

Host Victoria Carfantan, Director Champagne Bollinger  launches Bollinger RD 2008
Host Victoria Carfantan, Director Champagne Bollinger, sparkling in Jenny Packham

Victoria Carfantan, Director of Champagne Bollinger, Group Bollinger UK & Global Partnerships paid tribute to vision of Madame Bollinger : “Madame Bollinger was a true visionary bringing R.D., her totally new tasting experience to the world. So how apt that we are celebrating her remarkable achievement with the release of the Bollinger R.D. 2008 on the day after International Women’s Day.” A fitting tribute given Victoria herself is a senior female Director in the Champagne trade and she sparkled throughout the evening in a stunning gold Jenny Packham evening dress.

Serving Bollinger RD 2008 en Jeroboam
Serving in style: Bollinger RD 2008 en Jeroboam

Why does Champagne Bollinger call it a 'blockbuster'?

Champagne Bollinger’s new Chef de Cave waxed lyrical about the new release “Bollinger RD 2008 is an exceptional wine from a great vintage, so exceptional that I believe it is the future 1928 which was a blockbuster for the house. This outstanding new vintage of RD truly is a wonderful tasting experience for lovers of great wine.”

wine writer Jancis Robinson MW & Chef de Cave Denis Bunner
Wine writer Jancis Robinson MW & Chef de Cave Denis Bunner

First launched exclusively at the Bollinger Burlington Bar in Burlington Arcade, Bollinger RD 2008 is now available on allocation at selected merchants across the country. Even with a price tag of £350 per bottle, it won’t be for long. Outlets include Bordeaux Index, Berry Brothers & Rudd, Private Cellar, Harvey Nichols and Lea & Sandeman, or contact Mentzendorff the UK importers for Bollinger.