This Wednesday Richard Juhlin was asked to be the presenter when 2003 Krug ‘Millésime’ was launched on the Swedish market @ Grand Hôtel Stockholm. For RJ, Krug is more than a Champagne. It is a word that stands for artistry, tradition, craftsmanship, and moments of pure pleasure.
The menu was made by Andreas Askling, Chef de Cuisine 2 Grand Hôtel.
brioche with marrow emulsion and bleak roe from Junkön
foie gras with saiternes on brioche
cold smoked artig char with sour cream, graefruit, fennel & saldon roe
blackened reindeer with finnish farmes sturgeon roe, black aioli, celery root & fermentera carrot
pan fried lamb loin with anise, fennel & cummin & pumpkin cream, baked unions & a warm vinaegrette flavored with Rancio vingar & lamb jus
RJ ON KRUG The Krug family has used the same methods since the house was founded in 1843 by Johann-Joseph Krug from Mainz.
It is hardly likely that the Krug philosophy will be abandoned in the foreseeable future, since it has brought so much success. Put simply, that philosophy means that all the wines are fermented cru by cru in well-aged 205-liter barrels from the Argonne and central-east France. The wines are seldom filtered: they undergo just two rackings, by gravity, from cask to cask. Nor do they induce a malolactic fermentation, which is one of the reasons for Krug’s fantastic aging potential. None of the wines is disgorged before it is six years old, and the reserve wines are stored in stainless-steel tanks from the Swedish company Alfa Laval.
The firm’s least costly wine, Grande Cuvée, is made from 118 wines from ten different vintages. Naturally the raw materials are also of the very highest class. Twenty hectares in Aÿ, Ambonnay, Le Mesnil, and Trépail are owned by the house, but above all it is the network of prestigious contracts with some of the region’s best growers that answers for the quality, as the growers consider it an honor to supply Krug with grapes.
Johann-Joseph Krug, the founder, learned his Champagne craft at Jacquesson and, when he regarded himself as qualified after nine years there, he set off to Reims to start his own house. After Joseph’s death his son Paul took over and built the powerful Krug dynasty, followed as he was by Joseph Krug II in 1910 and Joseph’s nephew, Jean Seydoux, in 1924. It was he, together with Paul Krug II, who created the famous cuvées, and it was only in 1962 that the legendary Henri Krug took over.
Today the wines are made by Eric Lebel and Olivier Krug is the president. They work undisturbed and independently, despite the fact that the firm is owned by LVMH. All Krug’s wines are small masterworks, and although Grande Cuvée may be lighter and fresher than its predecessor, Private Cuvée, after a few extra years in the cellar it outshines the competitors’ vintage Champagnes.
photo cred Raphaël Cameron
2003 Krug ‘Millésime’ │’I.D. 313 044′ │46PN 25PM 29CH│TASTING NOTE ‘9 years in the cellars before it was released, received it’s cork summer’13. A much fresher and more well made wine than Bollinger this year for example. A little dull, but noticeably large nose with dark brush strokes. When it opens up it feels like the vintage is a bit heavy & clumsy. Otherwise, the wine is again an unmistakable Krug with a structure and building as more than a little reminiscent of the heroic ’76.’ RJ 92(94)
‘At the House of Krug, each vintage is created to reveal the expression of a year’s unique character; a year with a special story to tell, captured uniquely by Krug. There are as many stories as there are Krug Vintages. 2003 was indisputably, a year like none other in Champagne with premature blooming, serious frosts and extreme heat. Called Vivacious Radiance, Krug 2003 is an adventure of sun-drenched luminosity, unexpected freshness, delicious intensity and astonishing finesse far from preconceived ideas about a year of extreme heat.’
TASTING NOTE Chef de Caves ERIC LEBEL
The creation of Vivacious Radiance, the story of 2003 according to Eric Lebel, Krug’s Chef De Caves.
‘The year 2003 was truly unique with particularly challenging circumstances, an eventful year for Champagne. We had a dry winter and spring, an early bud break followed by two serious frosts which meant significant losses, especially of many Chardonnay grapes. Then August was a record-breaker with average temperatures of 28.5°C, ten degrees above the seasonal average! We had our first harvest on August 23rd, the earliest since 1822, but the extreme variations in ripeness throughout the plots meant we could not set harvest dates for each village, as is usually the case in the Champagne region. Thus, the harvest continued in waves until early October. A year of three such extremes was unheard of in living memory…’
‘At the end of harvest we had small yields, healthy grapes, an expected over-ripeness but also an unexpected under-ripeness; the vines protected themselves from the intense heat by stopping their maturation. We discovered this because we respect the individual expression of every plot; nature’s beauty and strength at work in the fields. Nurturing this individuality meant we found surprisingly fresh, aromatic and balanced wines with very vivacious fruit.’
‘Personally, I am delighted with the varied blend of Krug 2003 because it tells our story; it reflects the challenges we faced. It includes a higher quantity of wines from black grapes than usual and thus also a smaller amount of Chardonnay (29%); these were used discreetly because they gave plenty of aromatic richness. Expression and vivacity comes from the wines of the parcels of Meunier (25%) from villages such as Sainte Gemme, Villevenard and Courmas. The Pinot Noirs (46%) with their lovely structure and body – from the south and north-facing slopes of the Montagne de Reims – add balance and freshness.’
‘After a decade gaining finesse in the cellars, Krug 2003 can be enjoyed now or for many more years to come. As with all Krug Champagnes, Krug 2003 has a very high ageing potential and will gain with time.’
RJ on #krugmoments?
photo cred Raphaël Cameron