Krug Vertical Tasting: 1988-2004

Twelve Krug corks = a very special tasting

Last November we met with Olivier Krug and Jancis Robinson MW to conduct a vertical tasting of vintage Krug. Over twelve champagnes were sampled in total, including all ten vintages produced since 1988, a Grande Cuvée Edition and an additional magnum of one of the vintages. As far as we are aware, such a comprehensive tasting of vintage Krug dating back as far as the 1980s, has never been conducted before.

What made this event all the more unique and worthwhile was the recent release of Krug 2004. Following Krug 2003 and Krug 2002, this new release marks three consecutive Krug vintages – only the second such occurrence in history. The first trilogy of Krug vintages occurred with the eldest three featured in this tasting: Krug 1990, Krug 1989 and Krug 1988. Interestingly, in both trilogy sets the middle-vintage was released first – so 2003 before 2002 and 1989 before 1988.

Although tasted blind in a randomised order, tasting notes for the champagnes are presented below in vintage order for ease of viewing.

Krug Grande Cuvée Edition 160 NV (Based on 2004)
Krug ID: 212018 | 44% PN, 33% CH, 23% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Spring 2012 | Wines: 121 | Vintages: 12, Oldest: 1990, Youngest: 2004 | Jancis Score: 18.5/20
Darker gold. Some hints of wool, seems quite tight on the nose right now. Has lovely rich and spicy aromas with powerful notes of lemon, grapefruit and nuts. A wonderfully intriguing dusty cellar smell on the nose, typical of 2004. Loads of acidity, rich dried fruit and incredible freshness! Slightly smokey finish.

        Ten Krug Vintages 1988-2004 & one Grande Cuvée

Krug 2004
Krug ID: 216022 | 39% CH, 37% PN, 24% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Spring 2016 | Ageing: 13 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 18.5+/20
Colour is lighter yellow gold compared to others, which are noticeably darker. Lovely bright bubbles. Relatively soft on the nose and seems quite tight. Very bright acidity, could this be the 2004? Quite tight at present.

Krug 2003
Krug ID: 113015 | 46% PN, 29% CH, 25% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Winter 2012/2013 | Ageing: 9 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 19/20
Tight nose, hints of lemon and toasted nuts. Really great texture: seems very youthful and fresh. Again, this is still quite tight but very good and lovely elegance to the finish, just starting to get quite creamy. This is very good.

Krug 2002
Krug ID: 414071 | 40% PN, 39% CH, 21% PM | Dosage: 5 g/l | Disgorged: Autumn 2014 | Ageing: 11 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 19/20
Seems very slightly darker, lovely gold colour. Less creamy nose, loads of pineapple notes and a lovely rich palate comes through. Loads of spiciness and power of lemons and grapefruit. Seems quite soft on the acidity.

1990 bottle and 2000 magnum

Krug 2000 Bottle
Krug ID: 411050 | 43% CH, 42% PN, 15% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Autumn 2011 | Ageing: 13 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 19/20
Darker gold with great little bubbles and wow – the signature nose of Krug! Big power of creaminess on the nose, all custard-like with hints of spice. Lots of fresh lemons and grapefruit: a slightly tropical edge. Lovely fresh acidty and great length, perhaps a little short, could this be the 2000? Slightly dry finish.

Krug 2000 Magnum
43% PN, 42% CH, 15% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Winter 2012/2013 | Ageing: 12 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 19/20
Big powerful nose – is this one of those ripe years? Lots of dried fruit, hints of marzipan and wow what a lovely mouth-feel! All the acidity, depth and loveliness is there and the length goes on and on. Acidity, peaches and cream and just so much nut flavour.

Krug 1998
Krug ID: 112005 | 47% CH, 37% PN, 16% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Winter 2011/2012 | Ageing: 12 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 17.5/20
Slightly damp wool, very tight. Has a lot of weight of fruit with dried figs, nuttiness, cooked ripe apples and spiciness.

Krug 1996
Krug ID: 407001 | 48% PN, 31% CH, 21% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Autumn 2007 | Ageing: 10 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 18.5/20
Hint of the seaside! Dried fruit and figs on the nose. This is just starting to come out of its shell, seemed a little closed at first but now a great mouthful of loveliness. Loads of apricot tarte tatin – lush but quite dry. Perhaps this is right at that lovely moment. Still refreshing, still lovely and creamy. Goes on and on and on.

        The first ever trilogy of Krug: 1988, 1989, 1990

Krug 1995
Krug ID: 105095 | 48% PN, 35% CH, 17% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Winter 2004/2005 | Ageing: 10 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 19/20
Some of that damp wool and lanolin notes with rich powerful fruit. Incredibly lush – loads of fruit, dried apricots, lemons and richness and goes on and on. Can’t spit this, has that lovely balance of fruit, acidity, power and loveliness.

Krug Collection 1990
Krug ID: 314056 | 40% PN, 37% CH, 23% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: September 2014 | Ageing: 23 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 18-/20
Beautiful nose, really vibrant creaminess. Loads of pastry, lemon and grapefruit aromas. This is really quite special: great acidty, impressive weight in the mouth and just has such a lovely texture and power of fruit. Stunning.

Krug Collection 1989
Krug ID: 212017 | 47% PN, 29% CH, 24% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: March 2012 | Ageing: 22 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 19/20
Hints of juicy fruit, loads of peaches and cream and dried fruit flavour. Power and acidity are just wow. Finish is slightly short, could this be the ’89 or ’90?

Krug 1988
50% PN, 32% CH, 18% PM | Dosage: 6 g/l | Disgorged: Autumn 2005 | Ageing: 16 years on the lees | Jancis Score: 19.5/20
Wow, this is good! This has all that apple richness, cooked pineapple and powerful dried apricot flavour. Great acidity. Has some hints of salinity, seems very young all of a sudden!

Read Jancis Robinson’s full report of our outstanding Krug tasting here.