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Rare Champagne Millesime 2006 £169.00
Rare Champagne Millesime 2006
Made only eleven times since 1976 (1976, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008), Rare Champagne lives up to its name. Champagne legend Régis Camus is the Chef de Cave, whose meticulous winemaking has made him Sparkling Winemaker of the Year at the IWC eight times. The wine is born out of a struggle with nature – in 1976 it was after a period of exceptional drought, in 1985 following a terrible black frost. Rare Champagne pays homage to the glory days of Versailles when founder Florens-Louis Heidsieck presented his first-ever ‘prestige cuvée’ to Marie Antoinette in 1785, declaring that he wanted to make a ‘cuvée worthy of a queen’.
As the guardian of the Rare Champagne style, Régis Camus selects the vineyards according to their expression rather than their rank in the scale of Premiers and Grand Crus. This blending approach contributes to the complex, distinguished, and yet pure style of Rare Champagne. He thinks outside the box, choosing Chardonnay grapes from the Montagne de Reims, more traditionally recognised for Pinot Noir, giving the wine freshness and precise minerality. He prefers the Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims as well (for instance Verzy or Aÿ) for their sheer intensity and powerful silky texture.
An exceptionally hot June and July saw grapes in robust health before a cool, damp August slowed ripening. Fortunately, the warm, dry September allowed the ripening process to be completed, with harvest taking place in early September. The resulting champagnes are rich and supple with great concentration.
The first fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. Once completed, the wine was racked and underwent full malolactic fermentation. Rare Millésime 2006 marries 70% Chardonnay grapes, selected mainly from the Montagne de Reims region and 30% Pinot Noir in a blend of eight crus. The wine was kept on its lees 10 years before disgorgement when a dosage of around 8.5g/l was added.
This Champagne is crystal-clear in colour, with bright yellow hues. On the nose, there are aromas of apricot pastries, orange zest and mango, followed by more pronounced notes of vanilla, toast and Oriental spices. The complex bouquet of spices leads to a delicate, long finish. Opulent, rich and intense, Rare 2006 is a testament to this sunny vintage resulting in a Champagne with great concentration.