Tag: Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc des Blancs Champagne

Jan 01 2015

Krug Champagne Masterclass

Posted on January 01, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Krug is to Champagne as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is to Burgundy and Petrus is to Bordeaux. (Tyson Stelzer, The Champagne Guide 2014-2015)

Vintage Cellars Ultimo’s Krug Masterclass was one of those occasions I will never forget. Fortunately, I’ve had a number of opportunities to sample top vintage cuvées from the celebrated Champagne Houses, but the chance to taste the Krug Clos du Mesnil 2003 (rrp $1,299.99) and the Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1998 (rrp $3,299.99) was a very rare privilege indeed!

The World’s Most Expensive Champagnes

The quality of both these wines is undisputed, but what makes them so special and expensive is their scarcity. Both wines come from small 18th century walled vineyards on exceptional Grand Crus land.

Wine critic Tyson Stelzer describes the pure chalk based 1.85 hectare Clos du Mensil  as the most famous vineyard in all of Champagne, and one of the finest chardonnay sites outside of Burgundy.  In his opinion, the chalk imparts an “earth-shaking minerality” in the wine.

The Clos d’Ambonnay 1998 is exclusively pinot noir, and only the third release of a wine from a tiny (0.68 hectares) site in the village of Ambonnay – Krug’s favourite source for pinot noir. As Stelzer notes, the “Clos D’Ambonnay is Champagne’s very own La Romanée” with a price tag to match!

Krug pioneered the development of the non-vintage cuvée

KrugInterestingly, these ultra cuvées come from a House renowned for its famed multi-vintage and multi-variety blends.

In the mid 18th century founder Joseph Krug was one of the first to recognise that the best insurance policy against Champagne’s fickle weather was to create a non-vintage blend to guarantee consistency both in quality and style from year to year. Single vintage wines were only released in years when the vintage was deemed outstanding.  The Krug Grand Cuvée Read the rest

Oct 10 2011

Krug: The World’s Most Expensive Champagnes

Posted on October 10, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

When Krug released its single-vineyard Clos d’Ambonnay Champagne 1995 in 2008, it caused a sensation. The 100% blanc de noirs, made entirely from pinot noir grapes, became the world’s most expensive Champagne – retailing for around $US 3000 a bottle.

At the time Krug justified the whopping price tag by noting that in comparison with other prestige wines from top estates, the prices for the very best Champagnes were too cheap. Comparatively, the retail price of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s La Romanée-Conti, for example, was up to $US4,300. (Eric Asimov, Effervescent Prices, The New York Times 29 February 2008)

Rarity, perhaps more than quality and reputation, is the main influencer on price. The Clos D’Ambonnay is even rarer than Krug’s other single vineyard offering, the Clos du Mesnil Blanc des Blancs, which normally retails for around $US800, and is also among the world’s highest priced Champagnes.

Clos refers to the fact that the vineyard is entirely ‘closed’ or walled. The Clos du Mesnil is only 1.84 hectares with the Clos d’Ambonnay being less than a third of that size. In a cold region like Champagne, where hail and wind are common hazards, the walls help retain the heat and to some extent protect the vines from the elements. Within the walls, the vines are meticulously tended. The Clos du Mesnil, for example, is farmed and vinified in five or six separate parcels with only the best included in the final assemblage.

So what do these extraordinary wines taste like? Recently the Wine Advocate’s Antonio Galloni attended a complete vertical tasting of the Clos du Mesnil and the Clos d’Ambonnay. Certainly his notes reflect how vintage can affect the character of the wine. The Clos du Mesnil 1989, for example, was from a warmer vintage than the 1989 and  consequently … Read the rest