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
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.
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 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 it's 20 years old, and it will live for decades beyond.
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.
Big, bold and generous in character, this vintage Champagne delivers a mouthful of ripe, mature, honeyed fruit flavors, while an expansive texture and a lingering finish add to the pleasure. Great balance to this. Drink now through 2003.
Rich, lush aromas of dried fruit and citrus marmalade, this is Champagne at its most opulent. Honeyed and round on the palate, with fine acidity keeping it focused. Gorgeous now, yet will age well. Drink now through 2015.
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.