NV Krug Grande Cuvée x 6, Champagne
Armit Tasting Note
Arguably one of the fi nest NVs being produced these days, the Grande Cuvée is the ultimate Champagne and the perfect manifestation of the blender?s art. A highly intricate and complexblend of 10...Read More
Notes & Scores
Armit Tasting Note
Arguably one of the fi nest NVs being produced these days, the Grande Cuvée is the ultimate Champagne and the perfect manifestation of the blender?s art. A highly intricate and complexblend of 10 different vintages from 25 different appellations, this is deservedly the flagship wine of this famous house and therefore, arguably for the entire region. Magnificent.
Bright gold color. Impressively complex nose displays an intriguing bouquet of pit fruit, smoked meat, floral and mineral scents. Rich poached pear and floral honey flavors coat the palate and are braced by dusty minerals and succulent herbs. Blends energy and depth smoothly, becoming more powerful on the finish, which leaves behind strong notes of apricot pit and brown spices. I found this wine to be richer than the last two releases under this label, which will no doubt come as good news for long-time fans of this singular multi-vintage blend.
The NV Brut Grand Cuvee offers up attractive suggestions of pears, quince, spice, brioche and minerals. As is often the case here, the Grand Cuvee reveals notable elegance and finesse. The use of reserve wines in the blend gives this wine an unusual level of complexity. Readers should expect a fair amount of bottle variation, something I myself have encountered with some frequency over the years. Some bottles can be fantastic, others less so. Although the Grand Cuvee is a good introduction to the Krug house style I find it increasingly difficult to get excited about this wine. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2011. My visit to Krug in November was illuminating, as I spent several hours tasting through a number of 2008 vins claires and reserve wines with Director of the Maison Olivier Krug and Director of OEnology Eric Lebel. Although Krug ages its young wines exclusively in French oak barrels, these wines were remarkably pure and transparent; suggesting that much of the signature Krug toastiness may come from the extended period the wines spend on their lees rather than from the oak. Over the yeas many of the most monumental, mind-bending Champagnes I have had have emerged from these cellars in Reims. Krug boasts an extraordinarily rich history along with a superb track record. In a recent tasting that included most, if not all, of the top 1996s, the Krug Vintage and Clos du Mesnil were at the very top of the pack. Along with making profound wines, under the direction of the charming Olivier Krug this venerable estate has pushed the boundaries on pricing to levels never seen before. The newest wine from Krug is the 100% Pinot Noir Clos d?Ambonnay. Sadly, that wine is priced for billionaires, not mortals. Krug does not provide disgorgement dates for its wines, something which is a serious shortcoming considering the lofty prices these bottles fetch. The corks are stamped with a code which can be traced back to a disgorgement lot and date, but that will be of little use to consumers once bottles are opened. It would be great to see Krug take a leadership position among the region?s grands marques and add disgorgement dates to its labels.
A complex, refined Champagne, with vanilla, coconut, lemon and mineral aromas and flavors. Fresh and elegant, yet deep and persistent, evoking whole-grain toast. This dovetails nicely on the lingering finish. Drink now through 2012.
It is said that a champagne bottle is popped open every second of the day somewhere in the world! But the great expansion of sales and brands has brought with it its own problems. For as global a brand as Champagne is, the very region which gives it its name and supply of grapes is under pressure and the industry is, controversially, promoting an expansion of its vineyard areas to meet the expected demand of the next 20 years.
The last 20 years has seen unprecedented growth in export sales, led by the UK along with mergers and acquisitions of brands and estates by the big Champagne houses. Whilst auspicious brands as Dom Pérignon, Krug, Pol Roger and Louis Roederer's Cristal rightly command attention and respect, the very essence and spirit still remains with the growers and the quality of the vineyards.
As important as the big name brands will continue to be, Champagne domaines, such as Pierre Gimonnet epitomise the spirit and, above all, future for this region. It is worth remembering that there are over 300 villages and defined vineyard areas in Champagne but only 51 of these command Premier or Grand Cru status.
Such is the paucity of supply of the finest grapes and this constraint remains constant. No wonder, as the very name conjures up an immediate sense of celebration and joie de vivree, an image which the Champagne industry has promoted brilliantly for over a hundred years.