Champagne Rare Millésime 2008 Launches
© photo provided
2008 is undoubtedly one of the greatest Champagne vintages. Finally, Champagne Rare has also released its rendition of this extraordinary year and cellar master Régis Camus, always wry, always with a twinkle in his eye, has termed it “infinite”.
A New Guise
Champagne Rare used to be the prestige cuvée of Champagne Piper-Heidsieck. In 2019, it was split off as a separate brand, still with legendary winemaker Régis Camus at the helm. 2008 is the second vintage that is released under this new guise.
Rare 2008 is the tenth white vintage of this wine produced since 1976 and, as usual, 70% of Chardonnay and 30% of Pinot Noir make up the blend.
About the vintage
Camus notes that the 2008 Chardonnays are “very tonic” while the Pinot noirs are “structured and fruity.” He notes that he looks for “vivacity and minerality,” and he defines the latter as a notion of “iodine and stone flavours.” He notes that he appreciates Chardonnay from the Montagne de Reims (usually more prized for its Pinot Noirs) as much as those from the celebrated Côte des Blancs, the former providing much of that ‘minerality’ while the latter provides freshness. “What I love a lot about the Montagne de Reims is the citrus fruit and the vivacity of the Chardonnays – but they take patience. These Chardonnays are like wild horses that need to be tamed. You need to blend them with other wines just to make them calmer,” he says. Camus also reveals that a little Chardonnay from the village of Montgueux, much further south in the Champenois sub-region of the Aube, provides a little “spice”.
Cellar Master's Verdict
Camus describes the 2008 vintage as “precise, crystalline, profound, pure and streamlined.” He emphasises that he will never say one vintage is better than another. “For me, all vintages are extraordinary,” he states. Instead, he prefers to characterise each vintage with a single attribute. “The one words that defines 2008 for me is infinite.”
Each Rare vintage comes with such an epithet: 2006 was “sunny”; 2002 was “iconic”; 1999 “extravagant”; 1998 “radiant” and so on. The very first vintage of Rare in 1976, of course, was “unprecedented.” For a vintage as youthful and age-worthy as 2008, “infinite” is indeed fitting.
Champagne Rare Millésime 2008
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