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'02 Piper Rare "Cuvée Rare" Champagne - 97 WS - "a powerhouse" - 09/25/2013 - Champagne

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2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne ($144.99)

97 points Wine Spectator: " *Highly Recommended* Impeccably balanced and silky, with finely honed acidity shaping the expansive flavors of toasted brioche, crushed blackberry, lemon preserves and honey, revealing hints of Frangelico liqueur and smoked nut. Rich and vivid, with a lasting finish. (AN)" (11/2015)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The pale gold, greenish shimmering 2002 Rare Millesime 30% Pinot Noir and 70% Chardonnay offers a very intense and rich, yet fresh nose of exotic fruit aromas of pineapples, mango, kiwi and passion fruit. On the palate, this is a mouthful of luscious Champagne: powerful and intense, but pure and with the complexity of matured wines. The finish is very exotic in its fruit aromas, but also persistently mineral. (SR)" (06/2016)

94 points Wine & Spirits: "When we tasted this wine two years ago, I gave it a similar score (95 points), noting its seductive and complex flavors. For a 2002, the wine was already harmonious and accessible, ready to drink and structured to hold for several years. The powerful drive of the 2002 vintage seems bolder today; more about creaminess and brioche-like autolysis than fruit, it still leaves my mouth tingling with gingery freshness and brightness of acidity. If you havent tried Piper Rare in some time, this is worth checking outa blend from 17 crus in the Montagne de Reims, 70 percent Chardonnay, 30 percent Pinot Noir, built for lobster or other rich shellfish." (12/2015)

94 points Wine Enthusiast: " *Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2012* This is top Champagne from Piper-Heidsieck, offering the delicious airy quality thats 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. Its worth aging for a few more years, though also delicious now." (12/2012)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "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. (JR)" (11/2011)

93 points James Suckling: "An attractive nose with plenty of toasty grilled cashews and bready aromas here, plus fresh peach and citrus fruits that are wrapped in caramel. Plenty of lemon as it breathes and freshens up. The palate's crisp and crunchy; lemon acidity pins a big mouthful of flavor in long and fresh." (07/2015)

K&L Notes: 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 2002s 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.

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 03, 2015

The wonderfully rich Cuvee Rare from Piper Heidsieck reminds me of the great tete de cuvee's of years gone past. Like those, it is made in tiny quantities and only in the very best years- only 8 vintages have been made in 36 years! We drank this wine at a staff sushi and Champagne party at my house, and loved it with the eel especially, but I think the ultimate pairing for this wine would be a nice sunset. It doesn't need anything! I love the warm toastiness of this wine and its fine balance. The refreshing finish will have you coming back for more!