Of all the wine world’s luxury brands, Krug is perhaps the most glittering. No expense is spared in its production, though the techniques used are in fact remarkably artisanal, including fermentation in small, old wooden casks and, as Henri Krug once told me, they have “no idea” whether the malolactic fermentation takes place or not. (It is not provoked, but happens anyway) Time is of the essence: the overall ageing cycle is the best part of a decade here, with all wines being aged for at least six years sur-pointes (upended, after the ‘ordinary’ ageing period that follows the second fermentation is included).
No expense is spared, either, in the pricing of its five wines, the cheapest of which, Grand Cuvee, costs as much as many rival houses top cuveés. This is the only Krug that I have been able to taste on a regular basis: it is a wine of magnificent complexity and richness, nourishing and diverting, as detailed and textured as a Gobelin tapestry. It contains wines from a decade’s worth of vintages and from at least 20 different cru (not all of them Grand or even Premier, one might note); Krug makes no secret, too, of its need and love for Pinot Meunier. (The Krug 1928 vintage, regarded by the family as the greatest ever, contained 29% Meunier, and there is 18% in the finely honed 1988)
There is also a relatively understated Rose of pale tawny hue, and a series of vintage wines of magnificent stylistic oscillation, fully respecting the potential of each year. The Collection Vintage wines have spent more years in the Krug cellars in Reims; disgorgement took place at the same time as for ‘ordinary’ vintage wines. Finally, a Champagne de Terroir: the pure Chardonnay Clos du Mesnil, vinified from wines in a genuine 1.9 ha walled vineyard within the village of Le Mesnil, purchased by Krug in 1971, and released as a vintage wine beginning with 1979. In great years (like 1988) it is magnificent and multi-dimensioned, but many feel that regular comparison with the Grand Cuveé would mostly be to its disadvantage, despite the price differential, thereby advancing the case for the superiority of blends over single-site Champagnes. Andrew Jefford- The New France