Horizontal or vertical?

Those who want to seriously and intensively engage with Krug’s philosophy have two options.

One option has been around for a while: for many years, Krug has communicated its range without a hierarchy. The Grande Cuvée has the same claim as a Clos du Mesnil or Clos d’Ambonnay. The different prices (190 vs. 1900 euros) are essentially explained by availability. Of course, a great deal of effort is put into the two individual vineyards, including a micro-winery on the premises of the respective Clos. Here, however, Krug is working on a change of concept. But this is not yet ready to be announced. Apart from that, all Krug champagnes are vinified in the same way: Fermentation in used barriques, followed by storage in steel tanks. In the case of the Grande Cuvée, a special feature is the numerous micro-tanks, for which a separate section was created in the cellar a few years ago, so that even the smallest batches with the volume of half a barrique can be stored separately to be available for later assemblages.

From Solo to Orchestra

On a horizontal level, this can be perfectly tasted with a “From Solo to Orchestra” tasting. Currently available is the package based on the 2006 harvest, starting with 2006 Clos de Mesnil, 100 per cent Chardonnay, 100 per cent Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, one vintage. A solo for one of the most expressive Chardonnays from perhaps the most purist cru in Champagne for Blanc de Blancs. Julie Cavil, Chef de Caves at Krug since 2020, compares this vintage with 1989 and 2002, both of which were also warm to hot vintages. The blend is made up of 45 per cent Pinot Noir from plots in the north and south of the Montagne de Reims and from Les Riceys in the very south of Champagne, plus 35 per cent Chardonnay and 20 per cent Meunier from Leuvrigny and Sainte-Gemme, i.e. from the right and left banks of the Marne Valley. If one wants to remain true to the image of classical music, the Vintage is in a sense a chamber music ensemble, which is then juxtaposed with the Grande Cuvée 162ième Édition as the great orchestra. The 2006 harvest also forms the basis here, but supplemented by reserve wines dating back to 1990. In total, 163 wines from 11 vintages are included in the assemblage. (Descriptions and ratings of the champagnes on page 42.)

Vertical Edition

The 162ième Édition originally did not even have its number on the label. This innovation was introduced one year later with the 163ième Édition. Nevertheless, the bottles in the archive were retroactively labelled according to the number of the tirage. This now opens up a second possibility to approach the Krug myth: Krug calls the case with six consecutive numbers Vertical Edition, currently available is the case with the Grande Cuvée from the 161st to the 166th edition. Among them is the very limited number 165, which was not even available on all markets. Indeed, the unmistakable Krug style can be clearly traced as a red thread, the special combination of power and freshness, of maturity and piquant spiciness. (sas)