Rare Millésime 2008
Grape Varietals: 70% Chardonnay & 30% Pinot Noir
Growing Region: Montagne de Reims - France
Chef de Cave: Régis Camus - *(Retired 21st March 2022)
Chef de Cave: Émilien Boutillat - *(since April 2022)
I have had the pleasure on more than a few occasions to visit Piper-Heidsieck, and each time is more special than the last - as your senses are at attention for what is going to be opened and shared with special friends. Some say you should never meet your heroes. Well I can say with complete honesty, spending time with Régis Camus - arguably the greatest Champagne winemaker (confirmed by Régis being awarded the ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ 8 times) is something extraordinary.
I am due to return to the Champagne Maison this year in July - knowing that Régis has recently retired will be an adjustment - but aware that the ‘Rare’ brand has been carefully passed to the next generation, and the talents of Émilien Boutillat (who joined in 2018)
I have mentioned in previous insights into ‘Rare’ Vintage Champagne - each is only crafted in the most unique of years - and have to be considered perfect for what Regis calls “an extraordinary cuvée”.
This 2008 ‘Rare’ is a blend of 100% Grand Cru vineyards sourced from the Montagne de Reims region. The carefully selected fruit parcels typically go through a traditional first fermentation, then the important ‘vin-clair’ tasting and blending, then the second fermentation and ageing, as the wine is matured for over 11 years in their cellars before being disgorged, dressed and released in late 2021.
The first ‘Rare’ vintage was made in 1976 after an incredibly intense heatwave. Since then, there have been nine more ‘Rare’ cuvées: 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2007 and now the 2008.
★ As you pour you will be greeted by a dazzling golden colour with a crystal shimmering effervescence. This Rare Millésime 2008 articulates the perfect tension between intensity and elegance. These sensations effortlessly dance across the palate in precise and harmonious step clearly leaving a defined footprint which is smoothed by fresh waves of flavour. This vintage has a signature of complexity and bold seams of minerality, highlighted by exotic spice notes, promising infinite pleasure.
The palate has an explosion of freshly cut pineapple, passion fruit, yellow kiwi, coconut and almonds, along with vibrant citrus notes. These combine to create a luscious cuvée with a solid structure, fully engaging and bursting with panache. This 2008 vintage will be remembered for its ‘joie de vivre’ and precise minerality.
This 2008 Vintage ‘Rare’ Brut Champagne has 12% Alc./vol. With a dosage of 8.5g/L. Chill gently and serve in an aromatic wine glass or generously shaped flute at 9°- 11°C. *NZ$499.99
CELLARING POTENTIAL: *(Review 29/4/22)
Incredibly complex and ready to be enjoyed; and will age gracefully for another 12 - 15 years.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
Perfect wine pairing with lobster, crayfish, stuffed crab, oysters, herb-crusted whole-fish, chicken w/ lemon couscous, tempura coated seafood or vegetables and an apple tart with vanilla cream - enjoy.