PIPER-HEDSIECK All three Heidsieck domains originate from the same company, Heidsieck & Co., which was established in 1785 by Florens-Louis Heidsieck. The Piper-Heidsieck branch was established in 1834 by Christian Heidsieck. The domain remained within the family right up until 1989, when it became part of Rémy-Cointreau. Daniel Thibault, who up until his recent premature death made the cuvées at Charles Heidsieck and was even responsible for Piper-Heidsieck, was always careful to maintain the separate identities of the two domains. Todays Régis Camus is following in the same great spirit. Piper own 65 hectares and purchase grapes from seventy villages. The wines are centrifuged, though they never used to be subjected to malolactic fermentation, which led to razor-sharp wines without extract. Nowadays Piper makes a more mellow and more easily accessible non-vintage. All champagnes from the firm gain a great deal from cellaring, about which Piper unfortunately neglects to inform its consumers. The ’55 and the ’53 were both masterpieces, and old vintages of Florens-Louis are legendary, but during the 1970s, up until the middle of the 1990s, the house was the weakest of the Heidsieck troika. Today they are again making brilliant champagnes, something that the fabulous ’96 proved very clearly. Their extremely lavish cellar tours are organised in the best Hollywood style, something that should suit their best customers – the Americans – admirably. As I have mentioned before, it was a train ride around Piper’s cellars that confirmed my fascination for Champagne. Thibault left a great void when he passed away in the spring of 2002. It is a great challenge for Régis Camus to continue on his new, successful path. 2002 Piper Rare is a fantastic champagne with its delightfully toffee-ish, roasted style. It is very reminiscent of the lovely 88 and can perhaps become as good with storage.
PIPER-HEIDSIECK ‘CUVÉE RARE’ 2002 TASTING NOTE ‘A masterpiece of elegance in this powerful year. Early to be the rock-solid, but this can not be anything but a legendary Champagne. Dense and concentrated fruit, biting acids that scares off many but the notes of butterscotch and coffee aromas lurking beneath the surface. A fantastic wine in the Thibault spirit! His very last vintage also …. Very reminiscent of Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millenaires with its fat buttery, and at the same time roasted hazelnut grilling and sun-matured sweet citrus costume.’
RJ points 92(96)