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)
This vintage apparently had a slightly different ratio of Chardonnay to PN/PM than what you'd expect. What always fascinates me with vintage Krug is the difference between the palate and nose. They can almost seem completely different. The nose has these savory spice notes as well as the standard nuttiness. On the palate, the nuttiness seems to be gone and replaced with a slight baked apple-ness. The finish ends well with a bit of an unexpected crispness.
Four and a half glasses
Four and a half glasses
External Reviews for Krug Champagne Blend Champagne Brut
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 Frankenstein's monster of Chablis Le Clos and Clos Ste. Hune - but one with perfect balance, of course - and you get an idea of what I found in my bottle. The energetic, stony character builds exponentially on the finish, which didn'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 I've ever been fortunate enough to drink. At the risk of sounding completely out of touch with reality, this is a value.
The real surprise among Krug's 1996s is the 1996 Vintage, which is drinking beautifully, even among this rarified air of single-vineyard Champagnes. The 1996 Vintage is explosive and creamy, with just the right balance of power, richness and freshness. The mousse is perhaps just a touch less refined than in the 1996 Clos du Mesnil and Clos d'Ambonnay, but it is also perfectly measured with the wine's exuberant personality. This multi-dimensional, textured Champagne is at the early part of its drinking window and promises to deliver an incredible drinking experience over the coming decades. The take-away from this flight of 1996s from Krug is simple. Although the 1996 Vintage can't possibly be described as inexpensive, it shows exceptionally well next to its much more expensive brethren and clearly delivers a similar level of quality. Readers who have the opportunity to pick up this wine should not hesitate. It is a gem. No disgorgement date provided. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2036.
A powerful, majestic Champagne. Deep and compelling, with aromas of whole-grain toast, coconut and dried citrus that draw you in. Lean and racy on the palate, with a creaminess that's yet to be integrated. A classic '96, with ripe, exotic aromas and a steely structure. Still a baby, with the long, resonant finish confirming its potential. Best from 2009 through 2040.
It's hard to imagine how a wine of this power can sustain perfect balance. Whit is now a more nonchalant intensity in the aroma was, in fact, too much to handle when we tasted this last year, as if the wine had no time for mere humans with their limited sense receptors. If you stop to taste ripe pear, ginger spice, apple blossom and butterscotch the wine leaves you lost in random flavor descriptors as it soars off into a vinous glow that lasts for minutes. This may well be the greatest vintage wine of Henri Krug's career (unless it is challenged by the 2002). It is impossible to predict how long this wine will thrive in bottle, though considering the current fine condition of the 1959 Krug, the first 50 years are a given.
Itrsquo;s facinating to compare this rsquo;88 to the Grande Cuveacute;e. 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 Cuveacute;e, but not quite as long. Itrsquo;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 mdash; 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 rsquo;88 asks to be approached as much as a wine as a Champagne.
Six generations of the Krug family have produced Champagne at this prestigious house since 1843, with president Remi Krugrsquo;s nephew, Oliver, directing the business today. Despite a very warm summer during 1995 in the Champagne area, this bubbly displays elegance and refinement. After the first fermentation in small oak barrels, the blending of various lots and almost 10 years in bottle (during which the second fermentation occurred), the wine was disgorged early in 2005 before being released this year.
Delicate rise throughout the glass, making the appearance of this wine as sexy as its aromas and flavors. And if you donrsquo;t believe a wine can be sexy, take one sip of this, then try not to take another. Itrsquo;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.
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