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Krug’s NV Brut Grande Cuvee ID 112001 – disgorged already over the winter of 2011-2012 but then further aged before release – reinforces the belief that, thankfully, even wine lovers of modest means who occasionally splurge on Krug Grande Cuvee will be rewarded with a wine that need not fear comparison with this house’s more limited and far more expensive bottlings, nor for that matter with any other wines of Champagne. The harmonious juxtaposition of creaminess and lees enrichment with bright, juicy citricity and of expansive richness with levity is stunning. (Some of the textural allure of this cuvee might, I suspect, be traceable to its significant share of Pinot Meunier, particularly that of Festigny, in a side valley of the Marne’s Left Bank.) Citrus zest notes segue seamlessly into the fine stream of CO2 without bitterness, while succulent white peach garlanded in lily-of-the-valley is laced with rich, subtly piquant nut oils and saliva-liberating salinity. Emerging suggestions of shitake and shrimp shell reduction compound the sense of capital-“U” umami in a vibrantly interactive and refreshing finish. A day after opening, this is even more vividly complex than it had been initially, with hints of fresh red raspberry lending an invigorating tang and sensation of berry seed-crunching that delivers strikingly harmonious counterpoint to both the luscious brightness of fruit and the nutty low-tones. Plan to follow this beauty for a dozen or more years. The team at Krug has long taken pains to emphasize that the task of assembling their Grande Cuvee from a hundred or more lots reflecting reserves of widely varying ages is mind-bogglingly complex. So is the result.
Krug – part of the Louis-Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy luxury goods empire since 1999 – continues to release wines fully worthy of their house’s exalted reputation that reflect inter alia the effects of micro-vinification in barrel and an (in the best sense) laissez-faire and leisurely attitude toward elevage and bottle-aging. (Although – for what little this may be worth – count me among those who find the metalicized labels that now adorn their bottles glitzy, and as such slightly incongruous with their contents). Director Olivier Krug represents his family’s sixth generation, assisted by veteran cellarmaster Eric Lebel and oenologist Julie Cavil. Most Champagne lovers will realize that each bottle from Krug nowadays comes with an identification number enabling the consumer to research its approximate disgorgement date – and sometimes other details specific to the bottle in question – via the house’s web site; but in keeping with the convention established for my reports, I have only referenced this number for the purpose of disambiguating non-vintage cuvees.
|Rated By||Robert Parker|