Tag: Krug

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

Aug 08 2011

Bollinger: A Remarkable Champagne for almost all occasions!

Posted on August 08, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Bollinger is the only Champagne that can compete with Dom Perignon for star billing in a James Bond film.  To date, it has appeared in five films compared to Dom Perignon’s seven!

No doubt, the consummate marketer Lily Bollinger, who up until her death in 1977 tirelessy travelled the world promoting the brand, would be pleased that her Champagne is a favourite of one of the world’s most sophisticated and stylish spies!

Of course, Lily herself didn’t shy away from the limelight. She is perhaps most famous for the following oft-repeated quote about when to drink Champagne: “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty.” (Lily Bollinger, 17 October 1961, Daily Mail, The Wine Doctor).

But as Chris Kissack of the Wine Doctor notes, Lily’s marketing prowess was just one of her many skills: “She was a hard taskmaster, personally directing operations in both vineyard and cave, everything from harvest and selection through to fermentation and blending. It is perhaps not surprising that much of Bollinger’s success today is traced back to her exacting methods.” (Bollinger, The Wine Doctor).

Bollinger was founded in 1829 by German businessman Joseph Jacob Placide Bollinger, who partnered with Athanase Hennequin de Villermont and Paul Renaudin. The Germans were huge fans of Champagne in the early 19th century and other famous German nationals, including Johann-Josef Krug and Charles Heidsieck, also founded their own great Champagne Houses during this period.

The individualistic style of Bollinger Champagne is partly due to the fact that it is one of the few Houses to ferment all of … Read the rest