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
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