"The NV Brut Grand Cuvee offers up attractive suggestions of pear..."
The NV Brut Grand Cuvee offers up attractive suggestions of pears, quince, spice, brioche and minerals. As is often the case here, the Grand Cuvee reveals notable elegance and finesse. The use of reserve wines in the blend gives this wine an unusual level of complexity. Readers should expect a fair amount of bottle variation, something I myself have encountered with some frequency over the years. Some bottles can be fantastic, others less so. Although the Grand Cuvee is a good introduction to the Krug house style I find it increasingly difficult to get excited about this wine. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2011. My visit to Krug in November was illuminating, as I spent several hours tasting through a number of 2008 vins claires and reserve wines with Director of the Maison Olivier Krug and Director of OEnology Eric Lebel. Although Krug ages its young wines exclusively in French oak barrels, these wines were remarkably pure and transparent; suggesting that much of the signature Krug toastiness may come from the extended period the wines spend on their lees rather than from the oak. Over the yeas many of the most monumental, mind-bending Champagnes I have had have emerged from these cellars in Reims. Krug boasts an extraordinarily rich history along with a superb track record. In a recent tasting that included most, if not all, of the top 1996s, the Krug Vintage and Clos du Mesnil were at the very top of the pack. Along with making profound wines, under the direction of the charming Olivier Krug this venerable estate has pushed the boundaries on pricing to levels never seen before. The newest wine from Krug is the 100% Pinot Noir Clos d?Ambonnay. Sadly, that wine is priced for billionaires, not mortals. Krug does not provide disgorgement dates for its wines, something which is a serious shortcoming considering the lofty prices these bottles fetch. The corks are stamped with a code which can be traced back to a disgorgement lot and date, but that will be of little use to consumers once bottles are opened. It would be great to see Krug take a leadership position among the region?s grands marques and add disgorgement dates to its labels. - By Robert Parker