“Piper Heidsieck’s Rare is a champagne that lives up to its name It’s made in tiny quantities compared to some of the other luxury cuvees, like Dom Perignon and Cristal—only 300 cases of the 2002 are coming to the States. It’s certainly a wine worth seeking out if you are in the tete de cuvee market. It shows once again how exceptional the vintage is, certainly the best since 1996 and maybe better, since the young wines are more approachable than the ’96s were at this stage. I got a chance to taste a few vintages at Soho House the other night, where Piper Heidsieck was unveiling the 2002, which is only the eighth vintage to be released in the past thirty years. Those whose taste skews toward the baroque will love the bottle, clad in a kind of gold grape vine tiara created by Parisian Jeweler Arthus Bertrand. (Almost as elaborate as the gold Armand de Brissac bottle.) The champagne itself is fairly intricate too, a delicate and nuanced bubbly with a big brioche nose, very fresh and lively on the palate with a hint of ginger and orange zest. Would love to taste it against the 2002 Dom Perignon, which is similarly priced at around $140 to $150, a little higher for the limited edition Andy Warhol-inspired bottles. The 1998 Rare was more developed, with more secondary notes, but still very fresh; drinking well now, though ultimately the 2002 will put it in the shade. Curiously, Rare wasn’t made in ’96, perhaps because Rare is chardonnay based and ’96 was something of a pinot year. The 1979, at least the bottle I tried, had lost most of its effervescence, though it retained some fruit and acid.