Part of the deal here is that one of the wines is a secret for the next few days. Needless to say it’s Krug, it’s vintage Krug, and it will be the next vintage to be released. We tasted it against the lovely 2000 Krug and two different batches of Grande Cuvee: one based on the 2000 vintage and one based on the, well, secret vintage.
“This is rich, ripe and punchy on the nose. Brioche comes through though the aromatic profile is almost red-wine like in its power. It’s not fat, though the power is all here and this is just delicious and ready to go now. Reminiscent of mature Grande Cuvee: supple power. Ripe, and very very long. And very, very Krug.”
“This is noticeably darker than the ****. And much more expressive on the nose: toasted brioche again and a hint of mocha, and showing very well – this is a bottle that is having its day. Maybe a little more edge to it than the **** today.”
Krug Grande Cuvee, based on the **** vintage
“This is just over half **** vintage, with reserve wines from ten vintages going back to 1990. It’s made up from 120 different wines – impressive in itself. Stylistically it’s somewhere between the last two wines; the mousse is slightly finer. In qualitative terms this sums up the house philosophy of Grande Cuvee being at the same level as the vintage itself. Excellent again.”
Krug Grande Cuvee, based on the 2000 vintage.
“This is meatier and chunkier. A hint darker with an edgy, smoky nose. Meursault-esque, with a hint of struck match. This is edgier and, interestingly enough, one for the cellar, I think (whereas the two vintages are singing today.”
No scores here, though all of these wines were 18/20 – or 96+/100 – from me. Looking around the room at my fellow tasters, I did notice that there were many empty glasses of the **** – this was the wine that we’d all gone back to; the wine that we were all actually drinking. Not a bad sign. Pushed into a corner I would probably take the 2000-based Grande Cuvee for the cellar and the **** for drinking right now, though this too will keep and develop for a decade at least, as the next two wines demonstrated with ease.
“This is the first noticeably dark wine of the day. Extraordinary richesse, and this is just beginning to come out of itself. This is vinous: proper wine. And still pin-sharp and stiletto strong.The mousse is fine and rich, and the wine has a sweetness to it. Olivier Krug says it smells like Yquem and I see his point, and I am reminded of a 1989 Meursault Charmes from Francois Jobard (drunk a couple of years ago – another one of those bottles that sticks in the memory). Outstanding stuff.”
“Sous-bois and mushroom here on the nose, yet still some edge and a hint of citrus. This is developing an extraordinary complexity and again there is a Sauternes-like edge to it. There is energy here and this is very, very classy. Silky, with lace-like delicacy. Balletic.”
Grande Cuvee, 2001-based, from jeroboam
“A jero of Krug is pretty impressive. Watching a man pour from it, one handed sommelier style is equally impressive even if it does provoke schoolboy humour. 2001 was a very tricky vintage in Champagne, which makes this wine and its creation all the more impressive. There is sous-bois here again and a hint of austerity – rather my type of wine. Steely structure and perfect balance. Everything in its place and quite a fitting end to an incredibly good day.”
The moral of the story is simple:
Firstly: if you are lucky enough to be invited to Krug then say yes.
Secondly: buy all the Krug you can (and we can, of course, help you with that). Vintage, Grande Cuvee, everything.
If the house has a mission statement, it is that quality drives everything. Whether it is Grande Cuvee or Vintage, the difference is style and little else. Indeed it’s more about variety. Grande Cuvee is now released with a ‘Krug ID’, enabling the serious collector of Krug to compare different batches of the wine: palates like mine, which lean toward the austere, will love the 2001 based wine, others may prefer the 2000 or **** based wine. Whichever your preference on any given day, the quality is impeccable and the inimitable character of Krug runs through every wine.