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#252

A DATE WITH PIPER-HEIDSIECK

02 Nov 2015 By

The essence of champagne is kind of like a hot date, and it ticks all the boxes: Sexy? (Check). Romantic? (Check). And Fun? (Check). Here’s our advice on how to make this relationship beautiful, lasting and worthy.

WRITTEN BY JAMIE SMITH

When it comes to champagne one word comes to mind: Celebration. It’s fair to say that in the midst of merriment, the inebriated one among us bid a tipsy farewell to any form of brand loyalty; frivolously ordering from the list of brands that we all know – at least think we should – and love is the norm. And they all have one thing in common in that inevitable end: a heinous credit card bill; a  headache  that won’t quit; and histrionic lies to our own self about quitting.

But we never. Like old flames, we keep wanting to go back for more, why is that?

Well that’s because of the essence of champagne, it is kind of like a hot date, and it ticks all the boxes: Sexy? (Check). Romantic? (Check). And Fun? (Check). And it is sometimes unforgettable.

PIPER-HEIDSIECK CUVEE BRUT (NV)

For me these are the reasons why we keep going back for the second, third, hundredth date… and beyond. Yet interestingly, we play a part in one of the most dysfunctional yet enduring relationships (with alcohol) that we have. Don’t you think we ought to build a more educated and informed bond? If so, allow Parched to be your champagne Agony Aunt, your Bubbly BFF.

Let’s improve your champagne relationship (with the one known as Piper-Heidsieck) through some questions from our readers:

Dear Parched, I’m not too picky so is it okay to settle for second best?

No. Never be afraid to date someone above your league. Any champagne enthusiast would preach that taste, age and provenance are essential factors. Piper-Heidsieck itself is one the oldest champagne houses in France. Its recent Millisime Rare 2002 vintage has been winning award after award. Produced only eight times since 1976, this champagne truly lives up to its name. Tasting this Rare was a real eye opener. In my heart I always hold the value that our best celebrations are remembered not by the price or provenance of the alcohol, but for the company in which we choose to share our time. However, having had the privilege to try the Millisime Rare 2002, my head is saying, “Invest! Invest! Invest!”

This champagne is special; a game changer: Silky smooth with notes of citrus, mango and subtle exotic flavours of ginger and spice. Other than having excellent taste this champagne also has style. Its beautiful art nouveau gold bottle label-come-tiara is specially designed by Van Cleef & Arpels. Although not designed for this purpose, it is possible to peel this metal label off with a credit card and voila!  You have in your hands a golden tiara to wear. So should you settle for second best? My honest answer is to settle for the one that’s most comfortable. But if you opt for the Millisime Rare 2002 I promise that no pre-nup is required. It’s a relationship that will never disappoint.

PIPER-HEIDSIECK RARE MILLESIME 2002 (2)

Dear Parched: Substance over style? Or style over substance?

The Millisime Rare 2002 surely has both. For those who really need to get to know the inside and out, this vintage is made with a majority of Chardonnays from the Montagne de Reims region (70%) and complemented with Pinot Noir (30%) from the same region. The wine is a blend of 17 crus (crus = group of vineyards), which are matured for over seven years in the house’s cellars. My answer to your question is that perseverance is key. Always strive for both style and substance.

Dear Parched: My Piper feels a little warm. Should this be a cause for concern?

The journey from France to tropical Singapore must be a quite traumatic one for any champagne. It is more sensitive to temperature and light than most other wines. For that reason, it is typically bottled in a light-resistant, dark green glass. Champagne should be stored around 12 degrees and may be kept upright or horizontally. Another factor is movement (cringe as you imagine the cargo boat rocking for hours…days even!). Storing champagne in the refrigerator door is sacrilegious: the combination of light (from the fridge), the lower temperature and movement from opening and closing the door will affect quality over time. (Lay it sideways when you’re storing in the fridge if you don’t want to invest in a wine fridge).

When ready to drink, we recommend submerging the bottle in a bucket with both ice and water for 15 minutes before serving. Again: think of a wine fridge as a security blanket – what date doesn’t want something nice to snuggle in?

Dear Parched: It looks a bit flat. Is it me or should I invest in better glasses?

Indeed any champagne is best served in a flute or tulip glass. Avoid serving in a coupe. The coupe glass is the inward-curving glass that somewhat resembles a martini glass. The coupe certainly looks great in Hollywood movies however it is not a great way to serve champagne as the wide surface area allows bubbles to escape quickly and the champagne to warm faster. Champagne needs the narrower opening of a tulip, or flute shaped glass, to concentrate and hold the aroma. In answering your question, always go for the slim and tall. Avoid the wide ones (natch).

Dear Parched: How can I get some?

For more enquiries about the Piper-Heidsieck Millisime Rare 2002, email our friends at Remy Martin on: clementine.wee@remyasia

Bottles are in limited in supply. Yes, it really is rare and expensive, but sometimes you gotta punch above your weight.

Like this? Read about the Dom Perignon vintage 2005 gastronomy journey that’s still on till end of 2015

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