Krug is one of the most prestigious houses in Champagne. Whenever I hear the name Krug, the first thing comes into my mind is celebration for a VERY special occasion.
Created in 1843 by Johann-Joseph Krug, the son of a butcher in Mainz. Joseph Krug left Mainz at the age of 24 and started his career in Champagne Jacquesson as an accountant. After spending 8 years working for Jacquesson, he has traveled around Europe to various wine merchants and listened to customers’ criticism, by then, Joseph has already learnt a lot about Champagne blending. In 1841, Joseph got married and moved to Reims the year after. In 1843, Krug et Cie was born.
Wines and Production
Krug Grande Cuvee – Majority of Krug’s production (approximately 80-85%) is the Grande Cuvee Brut, a white champagne made from a blend of multiple vintages. Krug claimed it is a blend of more than 120 wines across 10 different vintages. The annual production of the Krug Grande Cuvee is a secret, my estimate is around 425,000 cases every year, that is 0.05% of the entire Champagne production. It is not a huge amount compared to the well-advertised Dom Perignon (who makes more than millions of bottles for their vintage Champagne).
Krug Rosè – Not as straightforward as adding red wine to the Grande Cuvee. It is made in small quantity from a blend of 40-50 wines from a few vintages. The rosé is compost of approximately 51% Pinot Noir (of which 10% red wine), 11% Chadonnay and 8% Pinot Meunier. The 2017 release rosé base vintage is 2008, the remaining is a blend of 2005-2007.
Vintage Krug – made in good vintages only, the production accounts for less than 10% of the entire production, my estimate is 50,000 cases but the actual number varies significantly across vintages.
Krug Clos du Mesnil – One of the best Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Comes from a single walled-vineyard of 1.84 ha in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. A special terroir with 20cm of earth then chalks. It is made of 100% Chardonnay and made in exceptional vintages, 8000-14000 bottles are made each year.
Krug Clos d’Ambonnay – Comes from a single vineyard 0.68 ha. This prestigious vineyard was acquired in 1994 and the first vintage was 1995, and only 3000 bottles was produced in 1995. So far, only 4 vintages were created from this single vineyard, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000 (5100 bottles made in 2000). Made from 100% Pinot Noir from a tiny vineyard to show the extraordinary purity.
Uniqueness of Krug
1. Wines are fermented in old oak barrels
One of the key differentiation of Krug is the fermentation. All the juice undergoes first fermentation in old oak casks for 5-10 days without temperature control and stays inside the casks for about 2 months. The old casks allow a natural micro-oxygenation which gives Krug a rich and broad range of flavours from the slight oxidation.
2. Famous for being Pinot driven and take pride in using good proportion of Pinot Meunier
Krug Grande Cuvee is famous for the blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. Krug takes pride in using a high percentage of Pinot Meunier, a grape variety that is overshadowed by the famous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
3. Extended ageing on lees (yeast)
Grande Cuvee ages on lees for 6-7 years, 5 years for the Rosé, and at least 10 years for Vintage Krug, Clos de Mesnil and Clos d’Ambonnay. After disgorgement, the bottles then lie in their cellar for one year before being released onto the market.
4. The only major Champagne house to use big proportion of reserve wine
Up to 50% of Krug Grande Cuvee is made up of reserve wine (a blend of 1990 to 2007)
The recent 2017 release of Krug Grande Cuvee (Edition 164) base wine is from the 2008 vintage (30-50%).
Krug is known for their extremely long lifespan. I have tasted Krug Grande Cuvee released in the mid 90s and it was gorgeous! Full of life and complex aromas. The vintage Krug can age for even longer!
For information about different Krug Grande Cuvee age and labels, visit How to identify the age of a Krug Grande Cuvée.
Krug Grande Cuvee Cream/White Label (released in the very early 90s)
Impressively this halve bottle of Krug White/Cream label offers superb freshness and vibrancy. Released in the early 90s, this halve bottle is roughly a few years older than the Krug gold label served next to it. The cream label Krug exhibits different character to the gold label, offering vibrant citrus and ripe orchard fruits, french pastries, and dried apricots. Wonderful concentration and integration of oak spices, zesty and lengthy finish. A halve bottle deluxe. (95-96/100)
Krug Grande Cuvee Gold Label (released in the early-mid 90s)
This bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée gold label is the most mature gold label Krug I have tasted. From both the story of the provenance and the two-digit code on the cork (25), we suspect this bottle was disgorged in the early 90s. The nose offers a rich and profound aromas of ripe apricot, heavily honied brioche, toasted nuts with layer of fruits and marmalade. Full-bodied with intense flavours, the remaining half of the wine was decanted and served at the end of the dinner. Absolutely wonderful evolution and intricacy. (95/100)
Krug Grande Cuvee Gold Label (released in the late 90s)
Krug NV is one of the few multi-vintage Champagnes that needs extra 10 years of bottle age to shine, or 20 years for those who likes old wines. This is an old label Krug from the late 90s I believe, and it tastes like it’s from around 1990. Great acidity, toffee, citrus, creme caramel, sweet bubbly finish. Great bodied, but not quite as powerful or concentrated as 1990 Krug, but gives Krug 90 a run for its money. Definitely worth ageing Krug NV especially if the base vintage is good like 2002 or 2008. (94-95/100)
Krug Grande Cuvee (released in 2006)
This mature Krug Grande Cuvée proves how well Krug Champagne ages! This bottle was released in 2006 and so the base wine is very likely to be 1998. Lovely to drink now, it taste like a Krug 1998 with more roundness and less weight from the vintage blending. Rich matured flavours. (94+/100)
Krug Rosé (Disgorged in 2013)
Unlike the Krug NV, Krug Rosé has a higher Pinot Noir: Pinot Meunièr ratio. 59% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and only 8% Pinot Meunièr. Nice perfumes and Pinot nose, 2013 disgorgement is at an awkward phase, not quite as lifted as 2015 disgorgement. It has a lovely purity, zesty and Krug house style. Warm and welcoming, after 3-4 years of extra bottle age, it has added more fine details and a more persistent detailed aroma. A youthful Champagne with a glimpse of mature fragrant. (92/100)
The 1976 Vintage Krug is at its peak with very little bubbles remaining. Deep and intense with ample ripe fruits on the nose. A superb reflection of the hot vintage just like Dom Perignon 1976. Punchy mature apricot, mandarin, white raisins, ripe pear, oxidative wood and creamy vanilla. Tasted like a red label Krug with more intensity and ripeness. Full bodied, more oaky and spicier than the 1976 Dom Perignon tasted recently. Ultra ripe fruits and high pitched, very long finish with refreshing acidity. More Pinot flavours than usual. (97/100)
The 1985 Krug is the best Vintage Krug I have ever had! It is a combination of ripe and powerful fruits of 1990 Krug with the acidity and focus of 1996 Krug. Incredible potency, rich and powerful creme caramel, butterscotch, ripe apricot, citrus, and marzipan. Potent on the palate. Super focused compared to 1990. Full bodied and focused acidity. White flowers, and a touch of astringent and umami flavour making it wonderfully complex. Mature flavours yet it’s young and powerful. Perfect! (99/100)
An incredibly rich open nose showing developed carame, hazelnut, strong acid, generous minerals, toasted, some peach and apricots. On the palate, it is rich and racy. The acidity was so sharp it makes me wonder whether I could pass it onto my non existing grandchildren as their wedding gift?.. It is bold and extremely complex, extremely opulent and tightly knit, it shows a beautiful focus on details. Amazingly young and powerful, this is my favourite vintage Krug. Incredible!! (97/100)
Krug 1990 is absolutely fantastic! Krug Vintage Brut has different characters in different vintages, and 1990 is a distinctive year. An ultra-ripe, imposing Krug with great acidity and balance. Much more intense than 1989 with complex and powerful flavours. Rich potent aroma, full-bodied toast, yeast and honied aroma. Lovely oxidised, smokey aroma with a subtle floral tone to it, elegant fruits and bold Krug flavours steadily resonates and your palate, offering a long lasting finish. Delicious! (96/100)
Krug Clos du Mesnil 1990
An incredible experience to drink the 1990 Krug Clos de Mesnil. Never had I came across a Blanc de Blancs Champagne with such intensity and exuberance. The purest expression of Chardonnay – Sicilian lemon, white peach, caramelised melon, and buttery brioche. Krug oxidative style with lively bubbles and chalks. The ripe orchard fruits and lower acidity almost make this taste like a Montrachet. Sheer intensity, multifaceted with seriously lengthy finish. (96/100)
The 1995 Krug is drinking exceptionally well today, a blunt Pinot force of red berries, dried flowers, cinnamon and honey infused citrus fruit, apricot and ripe stone fruits. Rich and powerful. 1995 Krug is masculine with very focused acidity. Oxidative, Pinot Noir driven with generous biscuity flavours, roasted nuts and toasted brioche. Despite the oxidative style of Krug, I still think this is one of the fresher bottles of 1995 Champagnes out there, wonderfully vibrant and profound. (94/100)
Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1995
An absolute pleasure to drink this 1995 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay. Fragrance at its max! Sweet floral nose and caramel, baked apple pie, high end french dessert. Astonishingly youthful and muscular. Deep and layered with sublime perfumes. Fine French pastries, sugary, rocks. Full-bodied and excellent balance and sharp acidity, round and harmonious. Incredibly sexy.
Serious density and intensity. A league on its own. Exceptional wine! (98/100)
The 1996 Krug is stupendous. Explosive Champagne with signature full-bodied Pinot fruits and energetic spices. Incredibly vibrant and youthful. Masses of acidity and sensuous flavours, there is a lot going on. Ripe tree and stone fruits with Krug style toast and vanilla brioche accent, very potent. Expansive on the palate with powerful flavours of apricots, ripe citrus, toasted nuts and focused minerals. Tight and monumental. This could easily be the best Krug of the decade (including the 1990). (97/100)
Tasted blind – Deeper amber colour with an assertive toasty character. Reminds me of a few big Champagne house style. Good age showing a lovely biscuity, pastry note. Yellow fruit with a decent Pinot punch. Honied nose, 1996? Possibly Bollinger RD?When the label was revealed, I was a bit surprised that Krug 1998 tasted so elegant. Perhaps not as Pinot Noir and Meunièr driven as other Vintage Krug. (94/100)
The 2000 vintage is just beginning to develop some extra complexity of caramel, gently toasted nuts, and hints of honey. Still an extremely young 15 year old champagne with fine balance and vibrant character. Rich, intense nose of bread and citrus, wet stones and some savoury finesse that is difficult to put them into words.. Racy acidity and layered flavours and gorgeous finish. (93/100)
This is probably the Best Champagne/Krug to stock up on now! Highly concentrated with lots of power and zest. Very broad and incredibly in depth autolytic aromas. Toasted hazelnuts, pear, and nervy minerality. The 2002 keeps improving in the glass. Unmistakably Krug poise and ‘Grandness’. Amazing intensity, persistence and vibrance. Exciting Champagne! 2002 Krug is a league above 00′ and 03′. The 2003 is too fruit forward and lacks depth. The 2002 is so much more muscular and complex than the 2000. Note: I have encountered a few Krug 2002 with bottle variation. (95-98/100)
2003 – An unexpected vintage for any Champagne house to release. I could write a lot about this vintage but lets keep it short… Another beautifully made Champagne in Krug, carrying a range of fresh pear, apple, peach, redcurrant fruit, almond extracts, buttery creamy toast with honey spread. The minerals and citrus fruit also shows the grapes under the hot sun in 2003. A sense of complexity you always get in Krug, but less apparent in 2003. Ideal example of vintage expressing its unique qualities. 2000 preferred. (91/100)
A delight to try the recently released Krug 2004 on the airplane. I gave it a few minutes to breathe and warm up in the glass. The first impression is the expressiveness and precision the 2004 Krug carries. It is youthful but already showing beautifully. Great intensity of bright fruits and well built oxidative flavours of Krug. Spring flowers, red berries, ripe tree fruits, subtle apricot and peach. Good density and precision with the acidity and dosage. I adored the Chardonnay scents in the backbone, refined and energetic. This should be able to age for 3 decades easily. (94/100)