Krug Champagne Blend Champagne Brut 1996
A year like no other, 1996 in Champagne married the highest levels of sugar and<br/>acidity in living memory; the resulting wines are extraordinary in their<br/>concentration, yet perfectly poised in terms of structural definition. A<br/>seductive golden colour then a surprisingly forward nose which marries honey,<br/>acacia, brioche and truffle; it is on the palate that the identity of the year<br/>really starts to sing, with minerality providing a taut and still precocious<br/>texture. Beneath this the ripe fruit is slumbering; its ultimate manifestation<br/>will herald unparalled complexity and profundity. Similar to the 88 but I<br/>suspect it will, over time, be even better. <br/>(Simon Field MW)
External Reviews for Krug Champagne Blend Champagne Brut
Although the aromas are toasty, the flavors are still so fresh, rich, complex. This is a wonderful expression of taut minerality, pure citrus zest and then a wood-toast character that gives the wine both richness and sophistication. Given the fresh, intense fruit, this will certainly age for many years.
The 1998 Vintage is extremely primary at this stage. Today the wine remains mostly about pure, unadulterated expression of fruit, but the Krug house style is nevertheless present. This powerful Champagne needs time in the cellar to develop its full range of aromas and flavors, but it is impressive and should age quite well. The 1998 is only the third (and last) vintage Krug declared in the 1990s. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2028.
It's facinating to compare this '88 to the Grande Cuvée. The wine is a deeper green-gold color, Showing its maturity which follows in the dark richness of its aroma, a bouquet that needs plenty of air to open beyond its toffee and chocolate depth. Then the taste is as sumptuous as the Grande Cuvée, but not quite as long. It's more about the intricacy of its aged flavors, the contrast of delicacy and power, the life in its expression. And it grows ever more glorious with air - which suggests decanting a bottle, though it would be a shame to be so impatient and lose the bubble immediately. Better to enjoy the bottle slowly over the course of an hour or two with a robust bird or duck confit. In any number of ways, this '88 asks to be approached as much as a wine as a Champagne.
Bright true gold with a brisk bead. Deeply concentrated honey, pear skin, orange peel, peach pit, botanical herb and floral aromas are brightened by smoky minerals. Chewy citrus and pit fruit flavors stain the palate and are given a youthfully tangy edge by nervy acidity, gaining strength with air. Finishes with powerful grip and resounding echoes of honey and citrus pith. A serious, painfully young wine that needs patience; I wouldn't go near it for at least another six or seven years.
Delicate rise throughout the glass, making the appearance of this wine as sexy as its aromas and flavors. And if you don't believe a wine can be sexy, take one sip of this, then try not to take another. It's potent as a raging bull, then gentle, cradling the palate with essences of fruit and the long, airy spirit of chalk. The maturity brings an aroma as dense as marzipan, as delicate as the flesh of a freshly caught brook trout. Is it the amazing grace of the texture that takes my breath away, or the grip of the finish that bends my mind? The flavors last for minutes, and there are still new flavors to be found hiding in the mouth under the tongue. Just about as sexy as wine gets.
The beauty of the color is the easiest aspect of this wine to appreciate at the moment. The rest is sheer 1996 arrogance, all of its charm hidden for now. The power of the wine is aggressive, the minerality uncompromising. Acidity drives it forward, fast. One sommelier on the panel suggested decanting it. Even so, the wine would be too young to drink. This is one of the great Krug vintages of the last few decades; it will be a monumental wine when it has matured. No purpose is served by opening it before itrsquo;s 20 years old, and it will live for decades beyond.
Light gold. Remarkably perfumed nose projects an exotic bouquet of deep, leesy yellow fruit, minerals, honeycomb, smoked meat and flowers, with Asian spices building expanding in the glass. Almost painfully concentrated, offering a surreal parade of orchard and pit fruits, smoked meat, toasted brioche and marrow braced by intensely salty, stunningly incisive minerality. Imagine a Frankensteinrsquo;s monster of Chablis Le Clos and Clos Ste. Hune mdash; but one with perfect balance, of course mdash; and you get an idea of what I found in my bottle. The energetic, stony character builds exponentially on the finish, which didnrsquo;t seem to, well, finish. The best analogy I can come up with for the intensity, focus and clarity of this Champagne is liquified barbed wire. Utterly hallucinatory and one of the most amazing wines Irsquo;ve ever been fortunate enough to drink. At the risk of sounding completely out of touch with reality, this is a value.