With Christmas quickly approaching, I was delighted to finish my tasting year in the Dean Hotel with Krug Champagne. I strolled in and up the stairs to a bright and elegant room where I was greeted with a glass of Krug Grand Cuvée, the elegance of the wine matched that of the setting. Krug had invited only a small group to showcase a few of their finest champagnes. They prefer intimate groups so they can personalise the tasting a bit more and create the atmosphere that this is no ordinary champagne, it’s Krug. Brand ambassador and Head of Business Development for Krug Jessica Julmy flew over especially to take us on a journey to discover the essence that makes Krug so special.
In 1843 Joseph Krug with assistance from his friend and wine merchant Hippolyte Vivès he founded the house of Krug & Compagnie, from where he could pursue his dream of making great champagne no matter how bad the vintage was. Born in Germany and eventually venturing to Paris he began work at renowned Champagne House Jacquesson. He quickly became a partner and married into the family but, still not at ease, he dreamed of making the ultimate champagne; a champagne so special that even in a bad year it would still be outstanding. For him, champagne was a pleasure so he began building up a reserve library of wines specifically selected for their quality and uniqueness. Unlike some houses, Krug selects from a number of small parcels they believe show the true expression of their terroir with a uniquely rich palate of flavours.
They ferment each parcel separately in small oak barrels before the ‘assemblage’ or blending which takes place for one week each year in February. They have no formula but it has always been blended by a member of the Krug family. From Joseph’s son Paul to Oliver, who is a sixth generation producer, each member has been guided by Joseph and his dream. To this day, they still rely on the detailed notes from his cherry-red notebook, the very same cherry-red hue that is used in their branding.
Unlike other champagne houses, Krug uses up to 50% reserve wine in their blends to create the truest expression that champagne can hold. From the nose to the first sip, Krug leaves a lasting impression. The quality and flavours sing out and as we progressed through our tasting, the four vintage champagnes we sampled displayed the staggering diversity in blends created in the same year.
From start to finish, this is a champagne house that takes pride and great care about their champagnes to the extent of foregoing great vintage champagne to build up their library for future Grande Cuvée. This may seem like madness but their Cuvée is very special to the house and is a champagne that will always show greatness even from a bad year. All their champagnes spend a minimum of six years resting on their lees to give added depth and those delicious brioche notes. These champagnes can be enjoyed on their own but surprisingly the Rosé pairs well with curry and Grande Cuvée paired with french fries is Madonna’s guilty pleasure.
In 2011 Krug introduced ‘Krug ID’ where each bottle is given its own identification number that, when popped into the Krug app or the website, it will tell you when the bottle received its cork, how many wines were used in the blend as well as seasonal challenges. The most interesting fact would probably be the oldest and youngest vintages used. They are currently using wine from 1990 in their Cuvée blend.
These are champagnes that will last a life time but Krug believe that the here and now is a special moment, it is unique and to be celebrated.
Suzi is passionate about wine, beer and whiskey too, not forgetting a love of food and travel. She has been a part of this industry for a little over 10 years. She has worked on level 4 in WSET during this time and regularly hosts tastings and staff training in these sectors. She has recently started a blog on all wine, beer and spirit related beverages. You can follow her blog at suzisgrapecrush or follow Suzi on Twitter.