Made only eleven times since 1976 (1976, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008), Rare Champagne lives up to its name. Champagne legend Régis Camus is the Chef de Cave, whose meticulous winemaking has made him Sparkling Winemaker of the Year at the IWC eight times. The wine is born out of a struggle with nature – in 1976 it was after a period of exceptional drought, in 1985 following a terrible black frost. Rare Champagne pays homage to the glory days of Versailles when founder Florens-Louis Heidsieck presented his first ever ‘prestige cuvée’ to Marie Antoinette in 1785, declaring that he wanted to make a ‘cuvée worthy of a queen’.
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 uncommon 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, famous especially for Pinot Noir, giving an incredible, endless freshness and precise minerality. He prefers the Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims (for instance Verzy or Aÿ) for their sheer intensity and powerful silky texture.
A magnificent vintage for Champagne with near-perfect growing conditions, capped by fine dry weather at harvest. Age-worthy wines with plush fruit held in check by keen acidity.
The first fermentation took place in stainless-steel tanks. Once completed, the wine was racked and underwent full malolactic fermentation. Rare Millésime 2002 marries 70% Chardonnay grapes, selected mainly from the Montagne de Reims region and 30% Pinot Noir in a blend of eight crus. The wine was kept on its lees for 16 years before disgorgement, when a dosage of around 9.5g/l was added.
This Champagne is crystal-clear with a bright yellow colour. The first aromas to come forward are subtly floral with touches of honeysuckle, iris and jasmine. Then, notes of exotic fruits (mango and kiwi) and exotic woody scents come to the forefront. These aromas are intermingled with mild spices of white pepper, ginger, smoked tea and cumin, which add depth to the wine, which is enhanced by its complex minerality. The complex bouquet of spices leads to a delicate, long finish.
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