With just 11 vintages declared over the past 40 years, the aptly-named Rare Champagne is unquestionably high-end, ranking alongside the finest offerings. This year, the company’s 2006 vintage came away with the trophy for the best sparkling wine, ahead of 720 other sparkling wines from around the world, including over 200 Champagnes.

The first bubbles of Rare Champagne were created for Queen Marie-Antoinette on 6 May 1785. A century later, a centennial cuvée was designed by Pierre Karl Fabergé. Unfortunately, due to the techniques of the time, his idea could not materialise as the glass was too fragile. A label accurately reproducing the design subsequently adorned bottles of this exclusive edition. But it was not until 1985 that Rare Champagne really began to flourish with the launch of its 1976 vintage. Since then, there have been just 11 vintages. “Rare Champagne is an exception orchestrated by Régis Camus, the cellar master, who has been voted the world’s best cellar master eight times since the turn of the century”, says Justine Charlemagne, head of PR. “Régis Camus crafts every Vintage so that it mirrors an outstanding year, one that is enhanced by nature itself. The tiara which graces the precious bottle and the allegory of the triumphant vine is a subtle epitome of this. Rare Champagne offers a genuine introduction to the French lifestyle”. The Revelation Trophy awarded to the 2006 vintage only strengthens the desire to produce an outstanding sparkling wine. “It is an honour, we are very happy and very proud. Each Rare Champagne vintage is a reflection of nature enhanced by an outstanding year. The tiara adorning the precious bottle epitomises the vine as it triumphs over the vagaries of the weather”.

“It is an honour, we are very happy and very proud. Each Rare Champagne vintage is a reflection of nature enhanced by an outstanding year”

A Champagne with oriental notes

In 2006, after a cold winter, storms and a stifling summer, heavy rainfall threatened to prevent the fruit from ripening properly. In September, the heat ultimately paved the way for harvesting, which suffused the vintage with oriental notes. Perfumes of mango, white chocolate, cacao, coffee and tropical fruits fuse to create racy complexity. Notes of jasmine tea, aromas of dried apricot and pink peony offer a prelude to a light herbal structure on which vanilla, yellow kiwi and spices blossom. “The 2006 Rare Millésime is oriental yet fresh, mature, warm, profound and immediately reaches the senses”, says Justine Charlemagne. “Its almost counterintuitive, compelling mineral tension imbues it with considerable potential for expression. The 2006 Rare Millésime bears the tell-tale characteristics of the year – the harmonious summer delivering a wine accented by smoky tea with the hallmark oriental notes of Rare Champagne”. On the finish, crisp, honey-flavoured pastry accents and Espelette pepper underscore the wine’s taut freshness and its substantial ageability.