2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne
*Collectibles* A powerhouse, with verve to the finely cut, racy acidity, showing a sense of finesse and seamless integration of the firm frame. The silky texture carries layer upon layer of toasted brioche, currant and pear pâte de fruit flavors, with notes of grated ginger and coconut, cappuccino foam and spun honey. Mineral accents of smoke, ground spice and fleur de sel build on the long, echoing finish. Drink now through 2032.
Wine & Spirits
This is a blend from 17 crus in the Montagne de Reims, 70 percent chardonnay, 30 percent pinot noir. It is, by far, the best Piper Rare we’ve tasted in recent memory. Dressed as the bottle is in filigreed gold that might serve as the tiara for a princess, the wine is more animal, taking chardonnay into a fine mist, like the scent of sweat off that princess. Yes, I was completely seduced by this 2002, by its complex scent of plum and ginger, mushroom and root; by the silken elegance of its bubbles; by the way it shimmers into the distance as its flavors slowly recede. Harmonious and accessible, in fact, delicious to drink now, this has the structure to hold tight for several years in the cellar.
*Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2012* This is top Champagne from Piper-Heidsieck, offering the delicious airy quality that’s the hallmark of this house, with crisp apple flavor, tangy acidity and the first signs of yeasty, toasty bottle age. Its fruit intensity has transformed into a splendid selection. It’s worth aging for a few more years, though also delicious now.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(mostly chardonnay, with some pinot noir; L136050): Light, bright gold. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes candied orange, pear and ginger, with building floral and spice nuances. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering an array of citrus and floral flavors that become richer with air. A hint of nuttiness arrives on the finish, which is spicy, focused and very long. This Champagne seems set for a long life.
This is the top of the line wine from Piper-Heidsieck and may be the greatest tête-de-cuvée Champagne that you have not tried. It is composed of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir and vinified in stainless steel tanks with full malolactic. This is one of the last 2002's on the market, as most houses sell much younger Champagne even for the top of their range. This was a vintage of both great concentration and finesse, and the Rare shows this. It is a very finely balanced, elegant wine with great length. This wine is drinking great now, but judging by how well bottles from the 1980s taste, it will continue to improve for decades to come. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)