Krug, wines that don't look their age

Sep 16, 2020 • 2 mins

From the vintages to the Grande Cuvée and Le Clos du Mesnil, Krug champagnes are fashioned to withstand the passage of time. Olivier Krug, the sixth generation of the family since Joseph, founder of the Reims Champagne House in 1843, explains…

I remember a Taiwanese client, who surprised me with a bottle of Clos du Mesnil 1979 when he came to visit. Le Clos is planted solely with Meunier, a grape variety that, in Champagne, has the reputation of ageing badly. I can assure you that this wine was not old and that tasting it was a wonderful experience
Olivier Krug
Director of Champagne Krug

Olivier Krug has no shortage of anecdotes like this. Today, he talks at length about the Grande Cuvée. ”The English have always considered it equal to a grand cru. Its fans usually order a case and always lay down a few bottles in their cellars. The Grande Cuvée is not simply a non-vintage Brut, it’s a champagne whose objective is to give you the best of the 140 or 150 wines that go into its blend.

At Krug, we are scrupulous about respecting the origin of each plot, with vinification carried out in small casks that bring out their typical character. For ten years now, we have extended its ageing by one year, the youngest wine is at least 7 years old, and we have added six more months after disgorgement before releasing it for sale. Otherwise, there are no rules, we don’t know if the wines will undergo a malolactic fermentation or not. Everything centres on the art of blending and the tasting of the wines.

Four years ago, in New York, Maison Krug auctioned a “1915 champagne experience”, a great year in Champagne but which sold badly due to the First World War. ”At the time, my grandmother was running the company and she used to report on the harvest to her husband, who was on the Front Line,” says their grandson. For $116,000 (which was donated to the Hôpital de Reims), the successful bidder was welcomed to the Champagne House’s cellars and given a retrospective of the First World War in Reims and the family’s involvement in it. A bottle of the 1915 vintage was opened, still with its original cork and still sparkling, as well as a bottle of the 1988, ”dad’s favourite wine”, and a bottle of the 1966, the year when Olivier Krug join the company. Since 1843, the Krugs and their champagnes have delighted at withstanding the passage of time.