Rémy Cointreau has used the Maxxium venture to launch a vintage Champagne range in the UK market, targeted at the luxury drinks category.

The Champagne, named Rare and part of the Piper-Hiedsieck brand, will be available from the 1979, 1988, 1998 and 1999 vintages, Maxxium UK announced earlier this week. 
Priced between GBP102 (US$182) for the 1999 and GBP714 for 1979, the launch is part of Rémy's strategy to focus on luxury. The French wine and spirits group saw sales fall 5.6% in its first quarter to the end of July, largely due to economic problems in the US.

Piper's Rare range takes its name from special blends produced by the Champagne house's winemakers in years of extreme weather conditions. The idea was originally devised in 1976 after an exceptionally hot and dry year yielded a blend with a more distinct character, according to Maxxium UK.

Stockist information has not yet been released, but a special tasting held in London this week included representatives from respected UK wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd.

Maxxium UK will only distribute the brand until the end of next March, when Rémy Cointreau will leave the venture.