Champagne Rare Rosé is aptly named. Made for the first time in 1976, Rare, the white prestige cuvée of Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, has since been released in only seven additional vintages: 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998, 1999 and the extraordinary 2002, with the 2006 bubbling below. Its rosé counterpart, the 2007 vintage, was first released in 2017 and now, the 2008 Rare Rosé is to be launched at Claridge’s on Saturday July 6 (when it will be available by the glass), following its Paris début at a swanky party on a sweltering evening in the courtyard of the Pavillon de la Reine Hotel.
Le tout Paris was at the event, it seemed – an in-crowd of glamorous women wearing expensive scent and priceless jewellery, while young male peacocks strutted about, seemingly bent on outdoing the women in the chic department. Golden “vine leaves” formed into tiaras echoed the elaborate design of the Rare label, which takes its inspiration from the link between Piper-Heidsieck and Mellerio, one of the world’s oldest family jewellers, based in the fashionable Rue de la Paix.
The link? Marie-Antoinette, the muse of both Champagne Piper-Heidsieck and the family jeweller, which is said, in 1780, to have created a bracelet formed of seven cameos adorned with rubies that was bought by the then-queen of France. So it was that, following a commission by champagne Rare’s cellar master Régis Camus, Mellerio came up with a glittering, jewel-encrusted bow for a special edition of the Rare 1997 harvest, inspired by the bows that adorned Marie-Antoinette’s gowns. Only 10 bottles of the bejewelled Rare Le Secret Haute Joaillerie were made, and can be ordered, in sapphire, ruby or emerald, for a mere £135,000 a pop. A further limited edition of 1,000 numbered magnums of rare Le Secret Goldsmith were created, selling at Harrods and The Finest Bubble for £1,150.
As for the liquid that will pour from the Rare Rosé 2008 bottles at Claridge’s – 2008 turned out to be a miraculous year. Picked in perfect ripeness and health after a cool, wet summer, the grapes produced a rosé champagne, made from 70 per cent Chardonnay and 30 per cent Pinot Noir, whose coppery hue Camus likens, colourfully, to rose quartz. It’s an image that reflects a precise wine of some style, whose floral fragrance and nuanced red and black fruit flavours, buoyed by a mousse of creamy bubbles, lead to a delicately dry, citrus-inflected, mineral finish. Rare Rosé 2008 will be stocked at Selfridges, Harrods, Hedonism Wines and The Finest Bubble from mid July at a price of around £360.