96 Points Robert Parker
The 1998 Brut Blanc de Blancs Clos du Mesnil has come together beautifully since I tasted it last year. This is a remarkably taut, focused bottle of the 1998 with great energy and minerality in its precise, crystalline fruit. I don’t expect the 1998 to be one of the longest-lived Mesnils, but if this bottle is any indication, it should continue to drink well for a number of years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2028.
Source: Robert Parker (Robert Parker Wine Advocate) by Antonio Galloni. December, 2010
100 Points Tyson Stelzer
Clos du Mesnil is the most famous vineyard in all of Champagne and one of the finest chardonnay sites
outside of the grand crus of Burgundy itself. An inscription in the vineyard states that vines were planted here
and the wall built in 1698. The clos occupies just 1.84 hectares in the heart of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, the finest
and most age-worthy of Champagne’s chardonnay villages. On pure chalk, the east-facing slope achieves less
ripeness than some of Le Mesnil’s due south-facing slopes, making it all the more suited to Krug’s long-ageing
“My father purchased the plot in 1971 so as to secure a supply of chardonnay at a time when many growers
were starting to make their own wines,” Olivier explained. “When they tasted all the still wines that year they
realised that this little clos did not taste the same as the other wines from Le Mesnil. It was used in the blend
at the time but the same story repeated until the outstanding 1979 harvest, when my father suggested that they
should make a single wine. My grandfather said, ‘Never! You will ruin the philosophy of Krug! This is only one
grape and one year and one little garden!’ But my father made a test and they fell in love with the champagne.
They sent a bottle to the head of Krug in Australia at the time and he served it to James Halliday and Len
Evans. James said, ‘I don’t know where it is from and who made it but it seems to come from the house of
Krug!’ And this was one thing that convinced us to make the wine.”
Such is the personality, the complexity and the mesmerising persistence of Clos du
Mesnil that it morphs, unravels and then reveals itself for minutes after you have
swallowed. It reaches out to greet you but then pauses, contemplates, interrogates
before beginning to disclose its profoundly complex personality. It transported me to
the cellars of Burgundy’s most revered masters, whose very finest grand crus are the
only wines that have ever revealed themselves to me in this way. Chardonnay’s finest
terroirs speak. They have an epic story to tell on the finish, as it swoops with the
generosity of the vintage in molten wax, the most beautiful white peach conceivable,
oriental spice and cedar. After full barrel vinification and thirteen years of ageing
it retains impossible green tints to its yellow hue. It defies simple allusions, such is
the seamlessness of integration of its flavours and utter complexity. In streamlined
linearity it is a vector of absolute precision and purity and a core of great energy.
Then, profound minerality rises on the finish, like a shard of the pure chalk erupting
from the surface of the clos itself, yet at once soft, reassuring, caressing. Alongside
Billecart Clos Saint-Hilaire, king of blanc de noirs, Krug Clos du Mesnil is queen of
blanc de blancs, the wine of the vintage and the finest champagne this year.
Source: Tyson Stelzer.