“Lunch? Aw you’ve got to be kidding. Lunch is for wimps.” (Gordon Gekko, ‘Wall Street’)
On the surface, you couldn’t get more Wall Street (circa 1980s) than a champagne luncheon. Sorry Gordon. However, Krug is no ordinary champagne; so with that sentiment in mind, an intimate BYOB lunch with Olivier Krug seemed the perfect excuse to clear one’s schedule for the afternoon, sit back, and enjoy the world’s greatest champagne with fellow enthusiasts.
In complete contrast to some of the more recent Krug spectaculars this was the stripped back, acoustic version. No pyrotechnics, orchestras or hot tubs full-of-chocolate necessary - just a bunch of guys (and girl) who love Krug sharing some of their favourite bottles with one another over a long lunch of outstanding Catalan cuisine.
1998 Clos d’Ambonnay
I think we were all pleasantly surprised just how open for business this is, given the unyielding, shut down phase the ’95 and ’96 are currently going through. That said, the nose shows real intensity and focus albeit needing a little coaxing. The palate meanwhile is huge. No surprises there. Massive depth and concentration. Very Pinot. Very Burgundy. Beautiful red currants and berries on the mid palate. Powerful yet very elegant. This is classy stuff indeed.
95+ points GR
1988 Clos du Mesnil
We go from a young Blanc de Noirs to a fully mature Blanc de Blancs. What a start to the meal. A Krug of enormous reputation that delivers in spades. The harmony is such that the typical structure of a tasting note is useless. There is a seamlessness from nose to palate on this that only a very elite band of champagnes can offer. A stunning array of citrus, toffee apple and butterscotch with the most elegant backbone of acidity tickle just about all the senses. To use a Neal Martin turn-of-phrase, this is“The kind of wine that leaves you desperate for an original superlative!” Amazing!
99 points GR
The third vintage of Krug’s much-fabled ‘trilogy’ (’88,’89,’90) is just flat out gorgeous. Full-bodied and generous; real reference-point stuff. Lovely toasty, brioche notes with enough tart green apple to cut through and offer that delicious juxtaposition that Krug seems to deliver time and time again.
96 points GR
1990 Krug (en Magnum)
Wow. This almost tastes like a different champagne. Not necessarily fresher, as you’d generally expect from a bigger bottle, more an altogether different amplification. The toasty characteristics are heightened, the green apple tones are more of the baked variety, rather than freshly sliced and there is generally just more matter and depth to this beast. Stunning stuff. Further proof that magnum is the best format in which to enjoy champagne.
97 points GR
I’ve always loved the ’89 and this is a glorious bottle – a great contrast to the ’90. This is a rounder, softer Krug that leans more towards those lovely butterscotch notes rather than pome fruit. It has such a lovely weight and mouthfeel. Beautiful texture. Delicious.
1989 Krug Collection
Tasting an original vintage Krug alongside its ‘Collection’ twin is always great fun. This latest release is a real beauty. Such purity and elegance on the nose. The palate is richly layered with undeniable finesse. It bears the roundness of the original release but with far greater intensity and concentration. Lovely now but this should develop into something altogether more sublime during the next decade.
’90 and ’89 are a tough act to follow. Indeed this feels a little leaner by comparison yet if tasted blind you would pick this as the youngest vintage of the three. Further testament to the incredible ageing capacity of Krug and like the ’89 and ’90 this has such a distinct personality of its own whilst remaining undeniably Krug. Beautiful minerally quality to the nose, almost Chablis-esque. Delicate on the palate with the bubbles and texture reminiscent of old-fashioned pear drop boiled sweets. You have to work a little harder for this vintage but I kind of like it because of that.
Krug Grande Cuvee (from the ‘80s)
The value-trade for Krug lovers - aged Grande Cuvee is ‘the bomb.’ Poise and power with a dazzling array of melted butter and caramel lifted by fresh berries and apple cider. This could pass as a hypothetical blend of everything we’ve just tasted. What a fitting pre-finale.
Krug Rose (from the ‘80s)
A slight oddity to finish with: a very rare bottle of Krug Rose from the 1980s that had made its way to Hong Kong from Krug, via Japan. The colour is incredible, a deep gold colour with pink hue - one would struggle to have any clue what it is if tasted blind. Slightly tired and starting to show signs of oxidation but still offering plenty of delicious autumnal red berry notes it’s unusual for sure yet strangely alluring.
Coffee Krug Clos du Mesnil 2000
Well, when in Rome and all that.
2000 is a real delight. Give me this instead of a double espresso any time. Still very much an infant, this broad shouldered CdM offers gorgeous tropical fruits by the bucket load. A slight smokiness on the nose and richness to the palate promise of great things to come from this young pup but what an outrageously decadent way to finish this killer line up with.
94+ points GR
A huge thank you to Olivier, the house of Krug and all of the guests for generously providing so many amazing bottles. Bravo too to Catalunya for preparing a fantastic menu. Matching a full meal with champagne is never an easy task. From beautiful ham to perfectly cooked pigeon, all washed down with over a dozen bottles of champagne, there was nothing wimpish about this affair. One can only conclude that Gordon Gekko never attended a Krug lunch.