of the most famous names in the world of wine, Krug are a small house
making some of the most profound and ageable Champagnes of all. It’s
quite hard to write about producers such as Krug: what more can be
said than has already been said? And it’s surely not newsworthy that
they’re making great fizz! But for the sake of the record, here’s
my report based on a recent tasting, with some older notes on previous
vintages added at the end.
distinctive feature of the winemaking at Krug is the use of small (205
litre) barrels to ferment all base wines. These are old casks that are
neutral and don’t impart any oaky flavour to the wine; instead, they
allow a slow, controlled exposure to oxygen that helps add complexity
to the wines.
specialize only in premium Champagnes. Their most important wine is
the Grande Cuvée, a non-vintage blend of real complexity and finesse
that they prefer to talk of as a ‘multivintage’ wine. This is
because it has up to 50% reserve wines in the blend, a very high
proportion. As well as owning 20 hectares of its own vineyards, in Aÿ,
Le Mesnil and Trépail, Krug source grapes from around 30 different
crus. Almost all the vineyards sources are classified Grand Cru.
well as the amazingly good Vintage cuvee, released only in very good
years, Krug make a rosé (introduced in 1983) and two small production
single-vineyard Champagnes which are among the most expensive wines in
first is Clos du Mesnil, a Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay) from an
enclosed 2 hectare vineyard purchased in 1971. It took a while to
replant the vineyard and get it up to scratch, and the first release
wasn’t until 1986, of the 1979 vintage. [This tasting was my first
chance to try a Clos du Mesnil – they’re rare and seriously
second is Clos du Ambonnay, which is from a small Pinot Noir vineyard
of 0.7 hectares, acquired in the mid-1990s. The first release of this
was the 1995, in 2008. I’ve never tried it: it’s even more rare
and expensive that the Clos du Mesnil.
was, at the time, the hottest vintage since 1961. Chardonnay vineyards
did particularly well, so the Vintage Krug 1998 is rich in Chardonnay.
It’s also the last vintage of the 1990s since 1999 wasn’t released
as a vintage Champagne. This was a really successful vintage at Krug,
retail prices are given in brackets.
Clos du Mesnil 1998
Complex, aromatic, toasty nose with subtle herby and citrussy
notes. The palate is amazingly bright and fresh with tight, complex,
toasty, citrussy fruit and notes of vanilla and herbs. Very bright
with high acidity. Finishes youthful and a little herby. 96/100 (£720
Complex, warm, toasty, bready, herby nose is aromatic and
persistent. The palate is tight, youthful and complex with high
acidity and a distinctive, tightwound, herbal character. Really
complex with high acidity. Very youthful, and strongly savoury. 95/100
(£230 per bottle)
Grande Cuvée NV
Tight, fresh, slightly toasty and aromatic with lovely lemony
freshness. Some herby complexity. The palate is wonderfully bright and
pure with tight lemony fruit, as well as subtle toastiness. Really
refined and sophisticated, this is just beautiful. 93/100 (£115 btl)
Pale salmon colour. Subtle strawberry fruity notes on the herby,
toasty nose. The palate is tight, pure and fresh with some soft
strawberry fruit emerging on the finish. Some herbal character here,
too. A complex wine. 92/100 (£220 btl)
also: a tasting with Remi Krug
Wines tasted 10/08. Notes below are from 09/05.
Krug Grande Cuvée NV
Lovely fresh full herbal nose is very expressive with a subtle
hint of greenness and some complex toasty notes. The palate has great
concentration. It’s fresh and bright with high acid and a slightly
herby edge. Complex and full with an acidic finish. A serious
Champagne, but really needs a bit of time to show itself at its best.
Very good/excellent 92/100
Krug Vintage 1988
Quite a deep colour. A beautiful, deep intense nose with subtle
nutty and toasty notes. The powerful, intense savoury palate has
wonderful freshness and bold complexity. Quite tight and lean: savoury,
complex and full. Fantastic stuff with a long life ahead of it.
Krug Vintage 1989
Incredible rich open nose showing honeyed, toasty, rich fruit with
some peach and apricot notes. It’s quite profound. The palate is
rich, showing some evolution. It’s bold and hauntingly complex.
Fantastically rich and opulent with a nice richness of texture.
Krug Vintage 1990
Very refined complex nose: tight, rich, toasty, slightly honeyed
ripe apricotty notes here. It’s beguiling, complex and full. The
palate is crisp, tight and fresh with bright acidity. Complex and bold
with lots of weight, but intensely fresh and bright with good acidity.
A very serious wine with a bright future ahead of it. Brilliant.
these wines with wine-searcher.com
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