Piper-Heidsieck Brut Vintage Rare with Gift Box 2002
On the palate:
A wine with depth but also honed, precise, in harmony. Voluptuous delicacy with meringue notes. Subtle nuances evoke distant lands – mint tea, lime, kumquat and exotic fruits such as pineapple and candied ginger.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Pale gold in colour; very fine mousse. Fresh, pure and invigorating aromas in which green apple and citrus slowly give way to subtle, soft brioche, ivy leaf and plant sap; just a brush stroke of cream behind. This is a lean, pure Champagne of perfectly poised ripeness and restraint, very long in flavour, with the creamy richness of autolysis perfectly judged -- supportive but in no way obtrusive. The minority Chardonnay still takes a leading role at this stage; the majority Pinot Noir provides a pure frame and canvas. Exciting now, but don't hurry to drink, even though it already has a decade and a half behind it: there are further rewards ahead. 2018-2028
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, three varieties are permitted for use in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.