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A RECENT TASTING AND DINNER WITH OLIVIER KRUG FEATURING NEW RELEASES AND OLDER KRUG CHAMPAGNES

John Tilson • 12/27/15        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

 

House of krugKrug Champagnes have long been some of my very favorite Champagnes and they are well represented in my cellar. Earlier this year, at the invitation of Gary Westby and K&L Wine Merchants, I attended a Krug tasting of new releases followed by a dinner at Madera, the signature restaurant at the Rose Wood Sand Hill in Palo Alto, California. The tasting and dinner featured new releases and some older wines. Olivier Krug, representing the 6th generation of the Krug family, was in attendance and offered marvelous insight into the philosophy and history of this great Champagne house. It was truly a memorable event.

Krug menu 5.15

As expected, there were many fabulous wines. And at the dinner, the food was excellent and paired marvelously with the wines (to read an earlier article on Krug Champagnes including tasting notes and background information click here).

Krug ice bucket

Listed below are notes on the wines tasted:

The 2003 vintage was the earliest harvest since 1852! The weather was very warm in the spring, but the Chardonnay crop was severely reduced by a spring frost with some 2/3s of the crop destroyed.

Krug CDM 2003.

2003 Krug Blanc de Blancs Clos du Mesnil
The walled vineyard of Clos du Mesnil was not as impacted by the spring frost as other Chardonnay vineyards in Champagne. As a result, the crop was not down nearly as much in Clos du Mesnil.
Light yellow in color this 2003 Clos du Mesnil has a lovely citrus tinged perfume with hints of buttered toast and a faint spiciness. Intensely flavored with citrus nuances and faint hints of hazelnuts and spice this Champagne is lovely to drink now and should age for many years – Outstanding Plus. $899

2003 Krug
From the small 2003 harvest this wine is composed of 46% Pinot Noir, 29% Chardonnay, and 25% Pinot Meunier. Light yellow in color this wine has a deep citrus tinged floral perfume with faint hints of spice and baked bread. It is balanced, flavorful, creamy, and lush with citrus, spice, and brioche notes and drinks beautifully now with a long life ahead – Outstanding Plus.   $229.00

Krug Grand Cuvée
This new Grand Cuvée release is Krug ID 114018. It is comprised of 142 different wines from 1990 to 2006 and received its cork in the winter of 2013/2014. Light yellow in color with a deep perfume showing hints of honey suckle and citrus and a faint underlying spiciness this is a gorgeous Champagne. Stylistic and rich with a nice creaminess and a faint citrus spice flavor accented by a touch of brioche it drinks very well now and will continue to evolve over many years – Outstanding Plus. $149.99

Krug Rosé
This current release rosé is Krug ID 413069. It is a blend of 59% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, and 8% Pinot Meunier from the years 2000-2006 and received its cork in the autumn of 2013. Very pale golden orange in color, this rosé has a great perfume with floral notes and hints of peach and honey with a faint spice. The fruit is gorgeous with a citrus tinge and faint hints of orange zest and a tinge of spice. Very elegant with lots of finesse and flavor, this is a superbly balanced Champagne that is very distinctive and very delicious – Extraordinary. $279.00

Krug Grand Cuvée Magnum
This magnum bottling of Grand Cuvée is Krug ID 313040. It consists of 134 different wines from 12 different years 1990-2005. It received its cork in the summer of 2013. Light yellow in color with a faint golden hue this Grand Cuvée has a lovely perfume with floral spice notes, a touch of citrus, and faint hints of crème brulée. It has very pure fruit with citrus spice nuances with depth and richness and is delicious to drink now. However, over time, this Champagne should develop even more complexity and richness – Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary. $399.00

Krug CDA2000

2000 Krug Blanc de Noirs Clos d’Ambonnay
In 1984 Krug purchased this tiny 1.7 acre plot of Pinot Noir situated in the village of Ambonnay. The 1995 vintage was the first wine released and this 2000 is just the fourth release. The production totals only some 5,000 bottles and the price reflects its quality and scarcity. Having said that, this Champagne is absolutely stunning and this 2000 may be the best Clos d’Ambonnay yet. And, as wonderful as the 2000 is now, there is no question that with some additional bottle age it will be even better!
Light yellow in color with a faint golden hue, this gorgeous Blanc de Noirs has a gorgeous perfume with hints of brioche and subtle nuances of citrus, tropical fruit, apricot, and spice. It is rich and flavorful with lots of depth and shows brioche like flavors with hints of citrus and spice and a nice underlying crispness. Creamy and beautifully balanced with a mineral tinged core, expect this great Clos d’Ambonnay to continue to develop over the next decade or two – Extraordinary/Extraordinary Plus.   $2399.00

2000 Krug
Light yellow in color with a nice mineral tinged floral citrus perfume and a faint spiciness this Champagne is flavorful, bright and crisp. It shows a faint spice and crème brulée complexity, but should develop and gain complexity with additional bottle age Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary. $229.00

Krug Grand Cuvée recreated 2000
This is the Grand Cuvée that was released in 2006 and is no longer available for sale. It is based on the 2000 vintage and comprised of wines from 1988–2000. I have always laid away bottles of Krug Grand Cuvée for additional aging. This wine is a prime example of what I have known for a long time. Namely, that Krug Grand Cuvée definitely benefits from additional bottle age after release. The problem in the past has been keeping track of each bottling. Now with the Krug ID, it is much easier to follow the evolution of each bottle. And, Krug is making a point of showing people wines such as this to prove the point that the Grand Cuvée benefits from bottle age. This Grand Cuvée at this point in time is simply stunning. Light yellow in color with a golden tinge the Champagne has a stunning perfume with a tinge of spiciness and a faint tropical note accented by crème brulée nuances. It is creamy and rich with great balance and lots of complex flavors showing spice, baked bread, citrus, and a faint honeyed quality. Delicious to drink now this is a magical Champagne – Extraordinary.

krug1989magnum

1989 Krug “Collection” Magnum
In the 1980s Krug began releasing bottles of Champagne designated “Collection” that had been kept in their cellars in Reims for at least 10 years. This 1989 is a current release. It is the first Collection release of the great trilogy vintages 1988, 1989, and 1990. Drinking beautifully now, this is a stunning Champagne. Light yellow in color with a golden hue it has a great perfume showing a buttery nuance with hints of spice and almond. The wine has lovely flavor and richness with a creamy lushness and is complex with suggestions of spice, almond, and crème brulée that carry through in a long lasting finish – Extraordinary. $1250

krug id number

In recent years Krug has been putting identification numbers on the Grand Cuvée and the Rosé. Now it is possible to go to the Krug website https://www.krug.com/ and find information about the composition of the wine and the date that the wine received its cork as well as tasting notes and other information. This is something all Champagne producers should do. The Underground has long advocated that information be put on the label of all non vintage Champagnes to tell the consumer how old the wine is and the grapes that went into the blend (to read a recent article on this subject with a link back to the Underground article from 1989 advocating more information on non vintage Champagne labels click here).

Krug2

As always, Krug Champagnes are at a very high level of quality. The length of time in blending and assembling the wines and the attention to detail is remarkable. And, Krug is obsessed with identifying the character of the wine made from grapes grown in different areas. For instance, in 2014 there are 240 different cuvées.

Founded in 1843 by Joseph Krug, the house of Krug continues its tradition of excellence and the current releases are simply remarkable. Without question, Krug belongs in the cellar of every lover of great Champagne.

Joseph Krug

 

 

 

 

 

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6 comments for “A RECENT TASTING AND DINNER WITH OLIVIER KRUG FEATURING NEW RELEASES AND OLDER KRUG CHAMPAGNES”

  1. Wonderful Fantasyland excursion. I suppose we’ll just have to trust your palate, unless a bit more of this wine comes available nationally. I would think an edition of this tasting printed in Arabic and Chinese would generate interest.

    Wow. Merry Christmas. Really. And Happy New Year. The memory of this tasting will last until 2017 at least. Fp

    Posted by Frank L Parker | December 28, 2015, 9:48 am
  2. Thanks Frank.
    The great thing is that the Grand Cuvée is more widely available and with time it can be spectacular.
    As for Arabic and Chinese editions, these guys do not need The Underground. They have big numbers and big wallets.
    Happy New Year! I will have a New Year’s greeting posted this week. Here’s to 2016! Cheers!!
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | December 28, 2015, 3:38 pm
  3. Another fine article, this one about one of my most favourite wines on the planet.

    Cheers,
    Blake

    Posted by Blake Brown | December 29, 2015, 12:06 pm
  4. Thanks Blake. Indeed, what is not to like about Krug and great Champagne? And the match with food is simply the best!
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | December 29, 2015, 6:24 pm
  5. Dear John,

    Great article. Wish I had been there!

    Labeling Champagne bottles with an identifying code that imparts information on composition and date of bottling is a step in the right direction. Alas, #31304 is not as helpful as Dec. 12, 1015, or 12/12/15 like grocery products are labeled.

    It seems that to determine what the above code means one has to contact the Krug website with your cellphone app in the wine store or your computer at home.

    With a high value product like Krug, one would then assume the wine was shipped overseas in a refer, kept under refrigerated conditions at the warehouse and then did not sit too long on the wine store shelf. Furthermore, one would hope the bottle was shielded from fluorescent lighting, because Christian Bizot, a major figure in Champagne, told me years ago that fluorescent lighting did more damage to Champagne than storing the wine on the shelf at room temperature. Any of these variables could be the cause of a disappointing, pre-maturely aged wine.

    On the number identification issue, the Germans have done this for decades, particularly with their late harvest wines, and it is clearly understandable on the wine’s label. In a series of numbers, the central two boldly printed numbers tell the barrel number, and the month and date are also there in conventionally understood coding–for instance, a Christmas day harvested Eiswein is labeled 2512.

    Happy New Year to all.

    Posted by Cary | December 30, 2015, 2:37 pm
  6. Thanks Cary.
    Of course, you are right. But, at least we are making progress with NV Champagne. It has taken only 30 some years so hopefully future advances in providing more transparency to the consumer will come much faster. That, I think, will be largely determined by consumer demand. In the case of NV Champagne more information is long overdue and most houses today still do not provide any information. That is a real tragedy. I buy and cellar a lot of Champagne including NV. It is not unusual for me to have NV Champagne that I purchased 10-20 years ago. Carefully selected, these wines age beautifully, but it is a bit of a guessing game. So The Underground will continue the campaign for more wide spread adoption. Hopefully, we will be joined by Champagne lovers everywhere.
    Regarding the German wines, there was a time that German labels were the toughest of all. They have greatly improved. So, if the Germans can do it, why not everyone else? And, by the way, let’s not forget the California producers who are “enhancing” their wines? Ingredient labeling and disclosure of what is going into wine is gradually being adopted. But, like NV Champagne, getting everyone on board will likely take a very long time. Maybe we will see progress in 2016? That would certainly make the new year happier for a lot of us.
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | December 31, 2015, 2:14 pm

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