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 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.
The deep golden color implies just how rich this wine will be. The 1995 vintage provided a baroque canvas of flavors that seems weightier and more robust than a classic Krug, but no less fascinating. The wine is downright huge, aggressive in its savory power, in its aching acidity and persistent minerality. Brusque and mouthcoating in its richness at 11 years of age, this will begin to mellow as it turns 15 or 20.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brilliant aromas of coconut, tropical fruit, candied citrus peel and spring blossoms hint at perfection, yet the structure is firm and unyielding. Then it all returns on the finish, a wave of fresh and dried berries, white truffle and hazelnut. A compelling and contemplative wine. What more could you expect from a champagne? Best from 2005 through 2015.
Food Pairings for Krug Champagne Blend Champagne Brut
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