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The noble origin of Rare Champagne dates back to a tribute to Marie-Antoinette and expresses its revolutionary spirit fight against the trivialisation of vintages.
Over the last forty years, Rare Champagne has only declared eleven vintages, the most demanding in Champagne, all in limited production.
“Since 1976, the House has only released 8 vintages of Rare: 1976, 1979,1985, 1988, 1990, 1998 en Magnum, 1999, 2002 and now 2004,” says Régis Camus, chef de caves and chief winemaker at Maison Piper-Heidsieck. “Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 was my first Rare vintage so I am particularly honoured to hear that it has been selected as the number one champagne in the world by FINE Champagne Magazine.”
Each Rare Millésime is born from the struggle with nature. For instance, Rare Millésime 1976 was created after an exceptional drought, Rare Millésime 1985 following a terrible black frost.
As the guardian of the Rare Champagne style, Régis Camus the most awarded Cellar Master of the century*, selects the vineyards according to their expression rather than their rank in the scale of Premiers and Grand Crus. This uncommon blending approach contributes to the complex, distinguished, and yet pure style of Rare Champagne.
In honour of the occasion, Pierre-Karl Fabergé, jeweller to the Czar Alexander III, designed a spectacular enamelled bottle. Unfortunately, it was impossible to reproduce this decor with the techniques of the time. A label with a faithful reproduction of the design was therefore placed on the bottles of this exclusive edition.
In the 18th century, Florens-Louis Heidsieck presented his very first prestige Cuvée, ‘worthy of a Queen’, to Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France, in a characteristically aristocratic bottle: the Pinte Majeure.
In those days, glass blowers made by hand the most precious bottles of Champagne, intended for the aristocracy. Thus, the asymmetrical shoulders of the bottle emphasize its singular personality.
Rare Champagne modernized the original shape and added a golden lacy crown that asserts the radiance of the wine.
Black and gold, it truly contains a charismatic gem. Black symbolizes the dominant Pinot Noir grapes while gold represents the luminous shine of Chardonnay.
Thanks to its long elegant neck, a unique whisper rises while serving.
Today, the soft curves of the design pay tribute to Marie-Antoinette, the first modern icon, famous for her ability to set new standards.
On the eye
A bright, deep gold hue coupled with an attractive and discreet effervescence.
On the nose
An initial ephemeral aroma of plants, dried fern and humus, followed by a sensuous truffle fragrance and the floral overtones of freesia, lily and peony. Its warm heart is characterised by ripe grain and refreshing notes of eucalyptus, mint and verbena. Its delicate aroma of fruit, white peach and dried apricots is rounded off by the warmest notes of roasted coffee, aged rum and vanilla.
On the palate
An initial attack bursting with flavour. This is a powerful yet elegant and highly stylish wine. The velvety texture of cocoa beans and mocha gives way to more powerful notes of dried fruit, hazelnuts and dried currents. The aroma of plants and herbs, peppered with hints of eucalyptus and sandalwood, combines with the delicious taste of roasted pineapple. A sophisticated complex and warm wine.
CHAMPAGNE: From this year, the most classic and refined champagnes were produced. Champagnes are long-lived and mature slowly to their peak.
Winter and spring were fairly mild. Inflorescences began in good weather in June. Already during the next month, the cloud masses swarmed to the Champagne province. Finally, the sky broke right before harvest. The harvest remained smaller than in the previous year. Even though the weather was unstable, the vintage produced fine and elegant wines, of which many have just reached their peak. The wines are marked by high acids and a concentrated, precise style. A real classic vintage. There is no rush to enjoy these wines, as they endure storage well and will continue to develop well for the next 10–12 years. Indicative of a slowly maturing vintage is that Krug released to the market first the Clos du Mesnil 1989 vintage before the 1988 vintage. This year has also stayed in mind as the vintage when Jacquesson & Fils produced the first of its three late bottled special cuvées – the Jacquesson DT (Dégorgement Tardif).