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Established in 1843 by Joseph Krug, having left Jacquart Champagne where he was working to set up his own House with a very unique style. Joseph wrote in his cherry personal notebook the philosophy for Krug Champagne which is followed still today. The two beliefs he wished to share were: craftsmanship without compromise and no hierarchy within his Champagnes. He believed that there should be only two cuvees, Cuvée number one (now known as Grande Cuvée) should be the fullest expression of Champagne each year and Cuvée number two should express the circumstances of an interesting vintage.
Today the sixth generation of the Krug family are still involved in all aspects of Krug Champagne. Independently owned by the Krug family for generations, Krug is now part of the luxury goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moëeuml;t Hennessy (LVMH). Despite owning some 20 hectares of vineyards within Champagne, Krug is still a négociant producer of Champagne, with the grapes used in Krug coming from long-term contract growers who are proud to declare that the grapes are destined for the production of Krug.
Normally in Champagne, the non-vintage Cuvée of each Champagne is considered to be the 'entry level' Champagne of that house. However with Krug, this is not the case. Krug's Grande Cuvée Brut is the Champagne, more than any other, to which connoisseurs of Champagne aspire. With a reputation built not upon product nor one-off successes in comparative wine tastings, Champagne Krug has built possibly the most enviable reputation in all of Champagne, simply by turning out Champagne of incredibly high quality, year after year, for the last 170 years.
Krug's production is well under one per cent of the world's champagne - but it is often described as the Rolls-Royce of the industry. Its devotees, who have called themselves "Krugists", include Ernest Hemingway, John le Carré, Sir Alec Guinness, Naomi Campbell and the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who used to sneak in bottles whenever she was in hospital.
Krug range includes a tiny, 1.84 hectare vineyard in the village of Les Mesnil called Clos du Mesnil, protected from the harshness of spring frosts by being situated in the heart of the village surrounded by the houses helping to create a unique microclimate. This amazing vineyard creates the remarkable single vineyard Cuvée only produced in exceptional years. Although vines were first planted on this spot in 1698, it has only belonged to the Krug family since 1971. "We had no clue what a gem it would be," says Olivier. "It's a darling vineyard."
Whereas most Champagne houses put all of their best grapes in to making single vintage at Krug a sizeable proportion of the wine produced from best grapes from declarable vintages are held back as reserve wines, then blended into the "Krug Grande Cuvée" Brut. The exact composition of each year's release of this Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne varies depending on many factors but typically each release of this Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut is a blend of around 120 different wines from 10 different vintages. Each bottle of Krug has a unique ID code which can be scanned using the smart APP (available to download for free at the App store) to discover the unique blend and personality of each bottle.
Another defining factor in the flavour of Krug is the fact that all Champagnes are fermented in small 205 litre oak barrels. Krug opt to use well seasoned oak that imparts no specific oak flavour to their Champagne, as it allows for a better exchange with oxygen. Once initial fermentation is complete the Krug Champagnes are then left on their lees, the youngest of the wines in the blend being 6 years old with the oldest usually over 20 years old. This gives the wine richness, complexity, relating back to the original philosophy of Joseph Krug thus "producing the fullest expression of champagne every year".