Julien Pepin Lehalleur, Business Development Manager for USA and Asia at Moet Hennessy stopped by HDH yesterday to pour four bottlings of Krug: Vintage Krug from 2000 and 2003, Grand Cuvee and Krug Rose. Julien also discussed Krug’s style, history and production practices. Here at HDH we are already big fans of Krug so it didn’t surprise us that the wines were showing beautifully. What did surprise us, and provided a compelling comparison, was the difference between the 2000 and 2003 vintages.
Krug Vintage 2003
Krug releases their vintage Champagne only when it determines that it is ready to drink. 2003 was an extremely hot year all over France, including Champagne. Two frosts in April killed off a lot of budding Chardonnay and difficult weather over the course of summer led to an extremely long harvest. In short, it was a challenging year. Many wines from the 2003 vintage in France show the heat of that summer so we expected to find a lushness, an opulence, and a softness in the 2003 Krug. But what we found was the opposite. The wine is singing with freshness, brisk acidity and a smooth and silky mouth feel. It is lean, structured and brimming with citrus, particularly red grapefruit. We highly recommend buying this wine, available here through our retail website. While it is beautiful now, it is still a baby and will only get better as it ages.
Krug Vintage 2000
2000, in contrast, was considered a miraculous year. The temperatures were warm but nowhere near the heat-wave of 2003. Hail and rain were a problem in the summer but conditions cleared up in September providing clear skies for harvest. Knowing the difference in the weather we were surprised to find 2000 showing rich bright fruits, the impression of sweetness (the wines is actually extremely dry at less the 6 g/l of residual sugar), and a lightness and levity. The precision and citrus (Meyer lemon, in particular) are still present here but this comes off as a much softer and more feminine example than the 2003. Both are fantastic and should be added to your cellar for further comparison for many years to come.
MV Krug Grand Cuvée
Krug does not see their Vintage Champange as the top of its line. In fact, Krug focuses the majority of its attention each year on the production of Grande Cuvée keeping mass reserves of base wine from top vintages for blending. Its vintage Champagne is produced only in years when it has enough top quality fruit to first make its Grande Cuvée and then produce a vintage Champagne that truly reflects the vintage as opposed to the style of the house. The Grande Cuvée is the fullest expression; the bottle we tasted was disgorged in 2012 and was a blend of 12 different vintages from 1990-2005.
MV Krug Rosé
Krug Rosé is a Cuvée of multiple vintages of base wines coming from all three Champagne grape varietals. Clear light salmon in color with a nose of smoke and stone fruits, fine bubbles, tightly wound and kind of exploding in the mouth this wine shows perfect balance, elegance and finesse. Julien encouraged us to try this wine with food, particularly Asian spice, duck or squab. In turn we encourage you to do the same. This wine can be found through HDH retail here. Get a bottle, or five, and enjoy it with your next meal.
Julien also demonstrated how to use Krug ID, an identification system the company put in place in 2011. Every bottle of Krug has an ID number on the back label and can be entered into the Krug ID site for detailed information on the cépage and disgorgement date. This is a great tool for the Krug aficionado.