Piper Heidsieck Millésime Rare Champagne 2013

heidsick millesime rare 2013 - wimbledon wine cellar

Over the past 47 years, Rare Champagne has only released 15 prestige cuvées across 13 vintages. Rare Brut Millésime 2013 is only the 12th iteration of its kind. Rare was considered Piper Heidsieck’s prestige cuvée until 2019. Rare Champagne was separated to form its own standalone house as we know it today.

Florens-Louis Heidsieck sought to make a ‘cuvée worthy of a Queen’ and in 1785 he presented his first prestige cuvée to Marie-Antoinette in Versailles. A century later, Pierre-Karl Fabergé (then, Tsar Alexander III’s jeweller) sketched an opulent, bejewelled bottle for the house. Today, Rare’s unique bottle shape and gold casing is a tribute to its royal beginnings.

Overall, 2013 was a vintage of extremes. Winter saw temperatures plummet to -12°C, followed by a Spring fortunately free from frost. Summer saw sunshine hours doubled for the first time in 60 years, from an average of 400 hours to 800 hours. Late Summer was hit by abundant rainfall and a considerable drop in temperatures which delayed harvest and made it the first vintage in twenty years to be harvested into October. Despite these challenges, the berries reached full phenolic ripeness while retaining optimum acidity.

Rare Brut Millésime 2013 is made of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, sourced across seven Grands Crus and three Premiers Crus villages.  The Chardonnay was selected from vineyards including Vertus, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Chouilly and Avize. While the Pinot Noir was sourced from vineyards including Verzy , Verzenay, Ambonnay, Bouzy and Tauxières. After the alcoholic fermentation, the wine also underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on lees for eight years in cellar before disgorgement, followed by another year under cork before release. Dosage was 9g/L.

Emilien Boutillat took over as Chef de Cave at Rare Champagne in March 2022. He was named IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year in 2021. His predecessor, Régis Camus, paved the way forward for Rare Champagne and his meticulous winemaking was recognised by the IWC eight times as Sparkling Winemaker of the Year. In 2019, Camus was also presented with a Life Achievement Award by the CSWWC.

96-99 points – Essi Avellan MW, April 2023, EssiAvellan.com: The 2013 vintage is so very Rare, so pure. True to the classical Rare recipe its Chardonnay origins include a luxurious amount of Villers-Marmery and Côte de Blancs Grand Cru fruit, without forgetting the all-important ‘spice’ of Montgueux. The Pinot Noir mix plays with the cool verticality of Verzy and Verzenay, but on a crisp year like this more generosity was lent from for example plush Ambonnay and Bouzy fruit. Intense, shiny bright lemon-green colour. Stunningly refined toasty nose with fine herbal freshness, lemon and birch leaves. There is a lovely vanilla-laden exotic spicy touch to the pineapple and peach fruitiness. Creamy-caressing and salivatingly energetic at the same time. There is a lovely ethereal lightness to the airy whole. Perfectly pure and compact, promising extreme longevity and capacity for majestic complexity.

96 points – James Suckling, May 2023, JamesSuckling.com: Such a pleasingly elegant and multifaceted Champagne with salty, creamy and toasty elements all wound together. Plenty of apricot pastries, pears, brown butter, fennel and salted almonds, with some iodine. It’s silky on the palate, with soft and supple bubbles, while remaining fresh and on edge. 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir, from 11 cru villages mostly in Montagne de Reims with Cotes de Blancs. Disgorged December 2022. 9 g/L dosage.

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£445.00 a case (3 x 75cl)