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Robert Parkers only 100 point Champagne? 1998 KRUG ‘CLOS du MESNIL’| Reims | Champagne | France | Swedish importer: MoëtHennesy AB | price aprox €750 | 100CH | RJ 97(98)

THE VINATGE 1964 *** That year’s crop is the largest the region has seen. Every corner of the appellation successfully got up to the maximum allowable harvest yield of 10,400 kilos of grapes per hectare. Growers were also allowed to reap an additional 2,600 kg that was allocated to the Champagne reserve, called blocage. This led to 330 million bottles of champagne made in total. The blocage system (whereby a larger production than necessary is allowed to meet demand) has been the main tool for maintaining a stable price level in the 1990s. It is possible that 1998 was not a remarkable year, but we still have a lot of exciting experiences to look forward to in the future. Most houses felt that the year was good enough to make vintage champagnes. I had the great pleasure to try Veuve Clicquot still base wines from 1998 together with the winemaker Jacques Peters, who asked me if I thought the raw material was good enough to justify a La Grande Dame. With his amazing range of choice, it did. Otherwise, the year is generally good but hardly exceptional, which should be one criterion for issuance of prestige champagnes. Jacques Selosse and Billecart- Salmon Le Clos Saint-Hilaire are the tops.

TASTING NOTE ‘The 1.87-hectare Clos du Mesnil vineyard, in the heart of the village, is a location that sums up all that Le Mesnil’s Champagne stands for. In Krug’s hands this is the essence of Chardonnay.  More Krug-like than Mesnil-like. 12,000 bottles and 489 magnums is all what the world have to fight for. Sure, unusually developed and more accessible than usual, which may indicate that the wine is not as large as some other vintages. I stand still put my head out directly and let myself get blown away in euphoria where everything is in place from the start. It always feels a bit pointless when attempting to describe the top wines in the world so let’s just say that this is a generous, rich and smooth run of the most perfect Chardonnay wine world, together with the DRC Montrachet. Unfortunately, the wine has now gone into a dormant phase which is steely and acidic. Is there a better wine in this world than Clos de Mesnil?’

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