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96 points Wine Spectator
Aromas and flavors of toasted brioche and grilled nut enrich the yellow plum, nectarine and grated ginger notes of this rich and creamy Champagne. Finely woven and beautifully integrated, with a firm backbone of mouthwatering acidity providing precise balance for the lush range of flavor. (AN)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Brut Cuvée Rare is a rich, gourmand rendition of this prestige bottling, unfurling in the glass with a complex bouquet that mingles aromas of yellow orchard fruit, pears and fresh pineapple with nuances of buttered toast, iodine and smoke. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and textural, while remaining fresh and surprisingly tight-knit at the core, concluding with a long and saline finish. There's sufficient structural tension here to promise more than a decade's graceful evolution, and although this is nicely balanced, it's a generous, sun kissed rendition of the Cuvée Rare that reflects the warm vintage. (WK)
“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.”
From the release of 2006 the champagne is being re-branded from Piper-Heidsieck Rare to just Rare for both Rose and Blanc. In the summer of 1976, an unprecedented heatwave struck France, the likes of which the Champagne region had never experienced before. Piper-Heidsieck's winemaking team began to wonder: could it be possible to create a cuvée given the remarkable conditions? Taming the natural forces was no easy task and when assemblage was complete and the final blend bottled, the team were so proud of the final product, they called it Rare. A testament to exceptional vintages where nature unleashes its forces, Rare cuvées are only produced in supernatural years. Rare 2006 is only the ninth vintage of Rare ever created, since 1976, joining 1976, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008)
As the guardian of the Rare Champagne style, Régis Camus selects the vineyards according to their expression rather than their rank in the scale of Premiers and Grand Crus. This blending approach contributes to the complex, distinguished, and yet pure style of Rare Champagne. He thinks outside the box, choosing Chardonnay grapes from the Montagne de Reims, more traditionally recognised for Pinot Noir, giving the wine freshness and precise minerality. He prefers the Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims as well (for instance Verzy or Aÿ) for their sheer intensity and powerful silky texture.
The 2006 vintage was a year of mixed weather. It began with a rainy spell and late spring, but with little or no frost in the vineyards. Early summer was positive, with the months of June and July creating perfect conditions for flowering. Although there were some storms in late-July, the overall health of the vines was great since the weather remained hot through to the harvest with spells of rain in August promoting even healthier grapes.