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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 Jeb Dunnuck: "A gorgeous wine that's a legend in the making, the 2002 Rare Brut is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, with just under 10 grams of dosage. Offering incredible notes of stone fruits, brioche, white flowers, and hints of toasted nuts, this flat out awesome wine is concentrated and opulent, yet still dances on the palate with vibrant acidity and great, great finish. It's going to drink beautifully for another two to three decades. Bravo! This cuvee has only been made in 1976, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2002, and in 2007." (03/2018)

97 points Wine Spectator: "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) *Highly Recommended*" (11/2015)

95 points Decanter: "Looks like becoming another legendary Piper in the same style and league as 1988, 76 and 55. Already focused and concentrated. Tough acids might scare some but sublime coffee and biscuity complexity is building up slowly. Sensual wine for all occasions. (RJ)" (09/2014)

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 ImageElsa Baez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 10, 2018

When thinking about what to write about for this review I could not think of full sentences that would captivate on what exactly makes this champagne so special. Rather, when I think about the 2002 Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Rare champagne I think: beautiful, luxurious, unique, structured and by far one of the best vintage champagnes I've tried this year. With notes of toasted brioche, ripe fruit, a hint of almond and balanced with subtle minerality, a good balance of weight at the mid-palate and undertones of a very light effervescence, this is a must try for any champagne lover. Even better, you can hold onto this bottle for another 15 years or so. I can guarantee you won't be able to and will be inclined to buy another just to age. This is also a fantastic pick for that special occasion you've been wanting to splurge on and celebrate. When you taste the champagne you'll get the sense that every part of this champagne is meant to be together. Age + fantastic champagne vintage, let alone the fruit of 17 crus used to make this bottle, is going to blow you away.

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 03, 2018

The incredible scores this Champagne has received are very well deserved. It strikes the perfect balance between fresh and bright and toasty, nutty brioche. The blend of Chardonnay to Pinot Noir is spot on and the stainless steel tank fermentation has kept it from becoming too soft. This is by far one of the better Champagnes I've had of this vintage and style and I hope I get another chance to try it before its gone.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 03, 2018

This prestige cuvee from Piper Heidsieck is currently one of the best deals on the prestige Champagne market. It is one of the last still available from the lauded 2002 vintage, and is currently showing that vintage beautifully with an incredible, unctuous texture that only father time can bestow, and a rich flavor profile that is somehow fresh and complex at the same time, with flavors of baked peaches, toasted almonds, marzipan, honey and toasted brioche. The acidity is stellar and amplifies the flavors wonderfully.

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 03, 2018

The romance of the Cuvee Rare starts at the beginning of its reign. The first vintage came from the hot '76 vintage where the winemakers made magic by being able to balance the ripe, opulent grapes to give us a generous but balanced wine. While the 2002 vintage is the first of the Cuvee Rare I have been able to get my hands on, the story holds true. The wine is lush with lees texture and ripeness of fruit. Although the lavish wine is filled with texture it is not stagnant or heavy. A crisp apple like acidity is there to balance the longevity of the beautiful palate.

Staff ImageMuriel Sarik | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 03, 2018

This champagne is not only "Rare" it is unique. It has a smokiness on the nose that I have never experienced before in a champagne, which turns into a lingering toasty flavor in the mouth. There is also a lovely texture on the mid palette that sits on your tongue, with just enough weight to make you stop and take notice. 2002 is such a great vintage which makes this exceptionally Rare!

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 29, 2018

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!