2003 Champagne Krug, Clos du Mesnil, Blanc de Blancs, Brut
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, Nov 2014
Krug has done a terrific job with their 2003 Vintage. Warm, richly oxidative Krug signatures wrap around the palate in a textured, inviting Champagne endowed with tons of pure class, something that is especially evident on the finish, which is as sexy as it gets. In this vintage, Chef de Caves Eric Lebel bumped up the percentage of Meunier to give the wine as much freshness as possible. One of the challenges with Krug Vintages is that the wines are never ready to drink when they are released, something that has been true for as long as I can remember. That won't be an issue with the 2003, which is absolutely gorgeous today. I tasted the 2003 twice about a month apart.
Those tastings suggest the 2003 won't be a long-lived Champagne by the standards of Krug, one of Champagne's most historic, iconic houses. I would choose to drink the 2003 ahead of any other Krug vintage back to the late 1980s. The 2003 is 46% Pinot Noir, 29% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Meunier.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, May 2014
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com, July 2014
Wine Spectator, Dec 2014
About this WINE
Krug was established in 1843 and has since specialised in producing only prestige and specialised champagnes. Krug is the only firm still producing all its champagne in small oak casks, an essential element for developing Krug's intense bouquet and complex flavours. Today, Henri, Rémi and Olivier Krug, who supervise every step of production, tasting and blending, represent the 5th and 6th generations.
With long periods of maturation (6-8 years), Krug champagne continues to age gracefully after release, developing an intensely rich, nutty flavour whilst remaining remarkably fresh.
Krug`s finest champagne is Clos du Mesnil, a 100%-Chardonnay based champagne that comes from a small walled vineyard at Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. It is one of the world`s greatest Blanc de Blanc champagnes.
Brut denotes a dry style of Champagne (less than 15 grams per litre). Most Champagne is non-vintage, produced from a blend from different years. The non-vintage blend is always based predominately on wines made from the current harvest, enriched with aged wines (their proportion and age varies by brand) from earlier harvests, which impart an additional level of complexity to the end wine. Champagnes from a single vintage are labelled with the year reference and with the description Millésimé.
Non-vintage Champagnes can improve with short-term ageing (typically two to three years), while vintages can develop over much longer periods (five to 30 years). The most exquisite and often top-priced expression of a house’s style is referred to as Prestige Cuvée. Famous examples include Louis Roederer's Cristal, Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon, and Pol Roger's Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.
Recommended Producers : Krug, Billecart Salmon, Pol Roger, Bollinger, Salon, Gosset, Pierre Péters, Ruinart
Which grapes are included in the blend, and their proportion, is one of the key factors determining the style of most Champagnes. Three grapes are used - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
26% of vineyards in Champagne are planted with Chardonnay and it performs best on the Côtes des Blancs and on the chalk slopes south of Epernay. It is relatively simple to grow, although it buds early and thus is susceptible to spring frosts. It produces lighter, fresher wines than those from Burgundy and gives finesse, fruit and elegance to the final blend. It is the sole grape in Blancs de Blancs, which are some of the richest long-lived Champagnes produced.
Pinot Noir accounts for nearly 40% of the plantings in Champagne and lies at the heart of most blends - it gives Champagne its body, structure, strength and grip. It is planted across Champagne and particularly so in the southern Aube district.
The final component is Pinot Meunier and this constitutes nearly 35% of the plantings. Its durability and resistance to spring frosts make the Marne Valley, a notorious frost pocket, its natural home. It ripens well in poor years and produces a soft, fruity style of wine that is ideal for blending with the more assertive flavours of Pinot Noir. Producers allege that Pinot Meunier lacks ageing potential, but this does not deter Krug from including around 15% of it in their final blends.
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Krug released the 2003 vintage of the incredibly rare Clos du Mesnil, with a real appeal to avid collectors. Clos du Mesnil comes from a single walled vineyard of Chardonnay vines in Mesnil-Sur-Oger. Krug produces one of the purest expressions of a 100% Chardonnay Champagne that you will ever have the pleasure of tasting. Only available through a strict allocation process due to the tiny quantities (only 8671 individually numbered bottles of 2003 available in the world), this is an incredibly rare Champagne.
2003 is a year that offered abundant warmth and produced generously styled Champagne. This has played perfectly in to the hands of the Krug house style and as such their wine is among the best of the vintage, with wonderful richness and depth. These are presented in a wooden case.
Few wine lovers would disagree with the sentiment that Krug sits firmly atop the Champagne tree. In 1843, Joseph Krug set out with a singular aim; to craft the finest expression of Champagne every year, irrespective of conditions. A cuvee he simply named, Numéro 1.
Chris Pollington, Fine Wine Account Manager
For me, Krug is more than a Champagne. It is a word that stands for artistry, tradition, craftsmanship, and moments of pure pleasure… All Krug's wines are small masterworks, and although Grande Cuvée may be lighter and fresher than its predecessor, Private Cuvée, after a few extra years in the cellar it outshines the competitors' vintage Champagnes… If the opportunity arises, never miss the chance to drink a Krug!
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