In 1911, Georges Bollinger’s British agent gave him the idea for the name Special Cuvée – “special” written the English way, without an accent. He thought the French expression “Brut sans année” was no match for such a subtle champagne… More than a hundred years later, the name of Bollinger’s key figure champagne still symbolizes both its expertise and its history.
One hundred years ago, Georges Bollinger – then at the helm of the House – chose the new name in person, in conjunction with Harry J. Newman, who was an associate of Mentzendorff & C°, the House’s agent for England and the Member Countries of the Commonwealth.
On 30 June 1911, the latter announced to his commercial network that the “Feuilles dorées non millésimé” (“non vintage gold leaves”) cuvée, which took its name from the foil leaves of the coiffe, would henceforth be called “Special Cuvée”. This impressed on labels and minds what the tastebuds already knew: that Special Cuvée was truly very… special. It bears out the House’s hallmark know-how and ability to recreate year after year a cuvée with a constancy of style and quality. A preponderance of Pinot Noir, its emblematic grape; an initial fermentation partially carried out in oak casks; a blend comprising two different wine harvests, together with combinations of reserve wines – wines from Grand and Premier crus vinified in wood, which guarantee Bollinger’s very own house style – and, lastly, ageing for twice as long as is stipulated by the regulations for the non-vintage champagne appellation.
These trade secrets, plus a few others, have ensured that Special Cuvée has been deemed the legendary champagne of its category for a hundred years.