Champagne Krug: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow by Michael Edwards
10th July 2019
In thumbing through my book The Finest Wines of Champagne (Prix Roederer) 10 years after its publication in 2009, how does it shape up? One American critic sweetly writes that FWC has aged well. That was my aim, to sketch the philosophy and outlook of my 90 favourite Champagne producers, better to understand why in their historical context their wines taste as they do. A technical tasting note is an important reference but it is not the whole story.
Let’s start at the top. Since 1843, the Krug family have always made classic wines in an elegantly vinous style quite unlike any other. These wines can age well for 20 even 30 years. Although now part of the Mega Moët group, Krug is generously indulged and stays faithful to the wine-making precepts of the founder Johann Joseph, fermenting the infant wines in small oak barrels. Just as important, each successive generation has been very open-minded about the composition of their cuvées. Both current family member Olivier Krug and cellar-master Eric Lebel are great champions of the Meunier grape. They know it adds a palate filling fruitiness & the whiff of the baker’s shop to any blend – also, a vital freshness in hot vintages of 21st global warming like 2003, 2005, 2015 and 2018.
Krug Grande Cuvée NV: The ultimate most complex grand Champagne blend on the market. For those with deep pockets, £165 a bottle, and are digitally aware. Over the last decade, Krug has become much more open about the wines in the bottle and exactly how dry the Champagne is; everything the most committed wine buff would want to know by touching your iPhone on the Krug ID on the back of the bottle.
Tasted at 67 Pall Mall, 18 June 2019:
Krug GC 166th Edition: A blend of 14o wines from 13 different vintages, the youngest of which is 2010 back to 1996. The base 2010 was a year with plenty of challenges, notably a certain lack of freshness in the Chardonnay, skilfully controlled by Lebel by use of vivacious Meunier from Sainte Geeme. The Pinot Noir is a bit foursquare and needs another year to unlock its raw tautness. It will be a fine dining wine for full flavoured monkfish and brilliant with aged Comté and Beaufort Extra Brut style, not too much sugar cosmetics. 89 -90
Krug GC 167th Edition: Based on the mercurial 2011 vintage, Krug held their nerve and harvested late from 191 wines, key element the first rate 1995 reserve wine, the Chardonnay of Oger and the roundness of Verny Pinot adding real class. Very light on its feet. aromas of fresh cut flowers. Gastronomic partner for salmon trout and Vitello tonnato. 94
Krug Rosé 23rd Edition: Lovely vivid yet subtle pink, from a traditional macerated Pinot plot in Ay. Joyful, upright yet tender and delicious. The star, calls for lightly hung game, particularly roast partridge and woodcock.
Internationally respected Champagne, Sparkling Wine and food author & journalist. Ex Chief Inspector & Wine Editor for the Egon Ronay 'Restaurant Guide'.