At last! I’ve been waiting … and waiting … and finally … it’s here! The premiere of the long rished for 2002 Krug ‘Vintage’! Not long ago the 2003 was launched before the 2002.
Olivier Krug came to Stockholm to present this legend-in-the-maning. We started the evening at Grappe for an aperitif …
APERO no1 | KRUG ‘GRANDE CUVÉE’ | KrugID 314046 | youngest ’08 | oldest ’90 | 127 wines | 11 vintages | 94(97)points
TASTING NOTE This beauty was served from halfbottles. Krug’s nonvintage wine costs about $150. They themselves would rather call it a “multi-vintage.” Strangely enough, this exceptional wine is one of the Champagnes I’ve drunk on the greatest number of occasions—more than 200 times, in fact. Almost every time, some new element is revealed. Because it’s been blended from ten different vintages and forty-seven different wines from twenty-five crus, variation is understandable. However, I have only missed spotting it on one occasion at a blind tasting, proving that its basic character is unique. The extremely tough acidity, together with the heavy, rich Krug aromas, are the foremost clues. Always check how straight the cork is in order to decipher when it was disgorged. When young, the acidity can be too hard. When middle aged and older, the Grand Cuvée has a fabulously complex nose and palate, dominated by nuts and honey. The aftertaste is always long and majestic, like a great symphony.
APERO no2 | KRUG ‘GRANDE CUVÉE’ | KrugID 115003 | youngest ’07 | oldest ’90 | 183 wines | 12 vintages | 93(94)points
TASTING NOTE Unmistakingly Krug ‘Grande Cuvée’ but with an unobtrusive appearance. My first guess would be the ’04-blend.
RICHARD JUHLIN ON For me, Krug is more than a Champagne. It is a word that stands for artistry, tradition, craftsmanship, and moments of pure pleasure. The Krug family has used the same methods since the house was founded in 1843 by Johann-Joseph Krug from Mainz. It is hardly likely that the Krug philosophy will be abandoned in the foreseeable future, since it has brought so much success. Put simply, that philosophy means that all the wines are fermented cru by cru in well-aged 205-liter barrels from the Argonne and central-east France. The wines are seldom filtered: they undergo just two rackings, by gravity, from cask to cask. Nor do they induce a malolactic fermentation, which is one of the reasons for Krug’s fantastic aging potential. None of the wines is disgorged before it is six years old, and the reserve wines are stored in stainless-steel tanks from the Swedish company Alfa Laval.
The firm’s least costly wine, Grande Cuvée, is made from 118 wines from ten different vintages. Naturally the raw materials are also of the very highest class. Twenty hectares in Aÿ, Ambonnay, Le Mesnil, and Trépail are owned by the house, but above all it is the network of prestigious contracts with some of the region’s best growers that answers for the quality, as the growers consider it an honor to supply Krug with grapes. Johann-Joseph Krug, the founder, learned his Champagne craft at Jacquesson and, when he regarded himself as qualified after nine years there, he set off to Reims to start his own house. After Joseph’s death his son Paul took over and built the powerful Krug dynasty, followed as he was by Joseph Krug II in 1910 and Joseph’s nephew, Jean Seydoux, in 1924. It was he, together with Paul Krug II, who created the famous cuvées, and it was only in 1962 that the legendary Henri Krug took over. Today the wines are made by Eric Lebel and Olivier Krug is the president. They work undisturbed and independently, despite the fact that the firm is owned by LVMH.
All Krug’s wines are small masterworks, and although Grande Cuvée may be lighter and fresher than its predecessor, Private Cuvée, after a few extra years in the cellar it outshines the competitors’ vintage Champagnes. Unfortunately I have to note a small question mark for the latest blend. Clos du Mesnil is a charmer that combines the best Blanc de Blancs while simultaneously distinguishing the wine with the house’s own distinct style. For me, Krug Clos du Mesnil is he best wine in the world! The Clos d´Ambonnay is a shockingly expensive rarity that has only just been launched. The most costly young champagne in the world is worth 3,000 euros per bottle which does not seem to frighten away Krug fans since all 3,000 bottles are already booked up. The wine itself is fantastic most especially since it is clearly a brother belonging to the same sibling group in the Krug family. This wine is much more the breath of Krug than of Ambonnay, just as the Clos du Mesnil is in its own niche.
‘It feels as though all Krug wines receive a last tiny squirt of Krug perfume that distinguishes them from everything else wherever their origins. It matters not if others copy the methods with old, small oak barrels, no malolactic fermentation, aging for 12 years and other technicalities. It is still impossible for them to copy Krug.’
I think that the Clos d’Ambonnay is very reminiscent of the ordinary vintage and is astonishingly enough only marginally more full-bodied than the latter. A blanc de noirs with fantastic finesse far beyond all ungainliness. Its freshness and phenomenally long aftertaste are however the most striking things about this magnificent wine. The bouquet is richly creamy with a hint of hazelnuts and brioche along with papaya preserves and mango. The flavour balances between fairytale mellowness and a freshness that is similar to a 96. A new world-class wine has been born. The vintage Krug is now in competition with the Clos wines, but if we go backward in time, this is without doubt the best champagne of them all. The 1996 is pure magic and the 82 Collection is super.
‘If the opportunity arises, never miss the chance to drink a Krug! Vintage Krug competes with today’s Clos du Mesnil, but if we go backward in time, it is without doubt the best Champagne. The 2002 is puré magic!’
The dinner was held at Studio Watz in Stoikholm.
Springsallad, white aspragus, sweatbreads & truffle
2003 KRUG ‘VINTAGE’ | KrugID 414069 | 93(95)points
TASTING NOTE A much fresher and more well made than Bollinger from this year. A little dence, but noticeably large nose with dark brushstrokes. When warmed up in the glass the vintage feels a bit clumsy. Otherwise, the wine is again an unmistakable Krug with a structure and construction as more than a little reminiscent of the heroic ’76 with its powerful and at the same time caressing concentration and silkiness.
Weak amazing notes of finest hazelnuts. One of the most intellectually most challenging vintages. Ridiculous corsimilar to the ’76. However, be careful with the temperature. After 30 minutes in the glass scent is interesting but with higher temperature becomes flat, fat and clumsy … in ’03 the Krugs skipad out much of the Cotes des Blancs but theret iOS a large promotion of Clos d’Ambonnay in the blend.
Turbot grilled on the bone, spring vagetables, morels & sauce choron
KRUG ‘ROSÉ’ | KrugID 113016 | youngest 06 | oldest ’00 | 92(95)points
TASTING NOTE Krug Rosé is a relatively new invention of the Krug brothers. Their goal was to make a wine with proper style house where the color would be only indication that there had been a rosé. The color is very pale salmon pink, the scent is definitely Krug! Their unmistakable symphony of heavy complex aromas are here backed by a sprinkle of raspberries. The taste is extremely tight and acidic, but less generous than Grande Cuvée and definitely a storage wine. Some times a little too oaky. This version show more classical Krug Rosé-notes than the lesser interresting ’05-blend.
2002 KRUG ‘VINTAGE’ | KrugID 314064 | 98(100)points
TASTING NOTE Structure – intensity – finess! Vintage Krug competes with today’s Clos du Mesnil, but if we go backward in time, it is without doubt the best Champagne. Extraordinary balance of fruitiness – the tropical & the wild! Notes of cocoa, honey & smokiness. 2002 is pure magic! If the opportunity arises, never miss the chance to drink a Krug! A truely intellectual champagne!
‘At the House of Krug every Krug Vintage is crafted to be different. Every Krug Vintage reveals the expression of a particular year with its distinct character : it is the music of the year as captured by Krug.
It is a blend of very expressive wines from a single year enhanced by a stay of over ten years in the cellars. There are as many of these musical compositions as there are Krug Vintages.
The year 2002 offered a clement and generous climate, consistently warm, relatively dry, granting the ideal conditions for grape maturation.
As the grapes arrived at the press, they were in excellent and robust health. The 2002 harvest for Krug was marked by great homogeneity and superb balance.
The House did not hesitate to create Krug 2002, naming it Ode to Nature to express the music of an extremely serene and generous year with perfect conditions for highly-expressive wines centred around fruit of all types with a beautiful structure, great intensity and elegance.
Krug 2002 is a blend of selected wines of the year from many different plots, marked by its undeniably profound fruity character. It is a balanced dialogue between Pinot Noir (40%) and Chardonnays (39%) with Meunier (21%).
The elegance of Krug 2002 comes after 13 years in the cellars gaining in harmony and finess.’
TASTING NOTE FROM ERIC LEBEL
Baked rhubarbs, vänilla cream & frosted consommé
KRUG ‘GRANDE CUVEE’ | KrugID 108001 | youngest ’02 | lodest ’88 | 76 wines | 10 vintages | 96(98)points
TASTING NOTE Edition 158 sinne 1843! A truely ‘Grande Cuvée natured for parox 10 years after disgorgemant in the Krug cellars. It’s no secret that these wines develop a wonderfully riciness och nuttiness with age. Hazelnuts, walnutoil an a light fräsch note of dulce de leche!