It was on discovering that The Prince wasn’t familiar with the big named Krug Champagne that inspired SWMBO and I to bring a bottle to the next dinner party he was in attendance. Well, actually, it was rather self-serving, if you excuse the pun. We actually hadn’t tried Krug Champagne for a little while, and it was an ideal opportunity to reacquaint ourselves. The dinner party hosts, though very familiar with a wide range of wines, as well as the other guests, had not partaken of Krug for some time as well. I suppose it is also partly the cost of the wine, or at least perceived cost, that makes people think twice about buying and opening the wine. Sometimes, you just bite the bullet and go for it…
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the price of the NV Krug ‘Grande Cuvee’ 163eme Edition Champagne Brut when we popped into one of the local quality wine merchants. Having read about the cost of many of the deluxe Champagnes soaring in cost, this was relatively affordable. Maybe about two and a half times the normal retail cost of most grande marque non-vintage wines. After all, Krug has always positioned its ‘Grande Cuvee’ NV as a prestige wine, in fact a ‘multi-vintage’. So out came the wallet, and the deed was done. Both SWMBO and I had salivating palates in anticipation!
At the dinner party, it was served at the appropriate circumstances and time, after another Champagne, of fine quality, but Chardonnay-based. The Prince had a gleam in his eye, and knew the significance of the bottle, and our intentions to give him a taste of something special.
In retrospect, both SWMBO and I were somewhat underwhelmed by the wine on initial taste. Relatively quiet and indeed elegant. Subtle in aroma and flavour, you had to search for its goodness. This was not ideal… Our previous experience gave us a wine that was instantly bold and mouthfilling with layers of complexing flavours, with a distinct oakiness apparent. Our previous history with the wine told us that all of its out-there componentry would settle into each other, resulting in exquisiteness. So this new bottle was not like that at all. But slowly and surely, the wine grew in detail and interest. The yellow ‘Pinot’ fruit built in presence, and so did the autolysis, and complex interactions. Wonderful depth and presence, and refined mouthfeel. It was a wine that needed experience and a degree of patience. In the final analysis, it delivered all that was expected of it, if you gave it the chance to do so. Some of the tasters had moved onto other wines, and may have missed the point.
Just a little more tech info was obtained by scanning the QR code on the label. This bottle was a blend of 37% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay and 31% Pinot Meunier. A blend of 183 wines from 12 different vintages, ranging from 1990 to 2007. It spent 9 years on lees and was disgorged in the winter of 2015/2016. So wrote Eric Lebel, the Krug chef de caves. It’s amazing that technology gives us the opportunity to discover this detail. Overwhelming, in fact.