In my inverted snobbery, middle-class mildly rebellious way, I was expecting to question whether Krug 2002 was all it was hyped up to be.
Well, dammit, the hype is entirely justified. It is, without doubt, outstanding; indeed, one of the best champagnes I have ever tasted. Up here in Birmingham we are a little late to the Krug party, but who cares; the wine has been tasted and been given an almighty thumbs up.
At the fabulous The Drinks Emporium, the only Krug Ambassade outside of London, the 2002 was launched by Jessica Julmy, Business Development Manager for the brand, a woman whose presentation was one of the best I have seen and worthy of the champagnes we were tasting. We tasted four. The latest release of Krug Grande Cuvée (ID 314057), the 2003 and, following the 2002, a more mature Grande Cuvée (ID 108801), no stock of which is now left for sale – a sublime line-up.
There’s no need for me to go into detail about the wines, how the current Grande Cuvée is made up of 183 different wines from 12 different years, the youngest being 2007, the oldest 1990, grape variety blend and all that, because this information is available on an app and the website when you add the ID number of the bottle.
In terms of tastes, well, they obviously vary but have in common that lingering depth of flavour you would expect from a great wine and the elusive characteristic of balancing richness with vibrancy.
What make the 2002 so extraordinary are the infinite aromas, the explosion in the mouth, the firmness, the structure and yet somehow coming across as beautifully delicate. I smelt apricot, white flowers, mango, tobacco, tea leaf, caramel, almonds. In the mouth it is creamy yet vibrant, that burst of acidity which exposes a myriad of flavours – ginger, honey, tropical, dried and candied fruit (I want to add Liquorice Allsorts here but wonder if Bassetts are classy enough!), toasty, smoky oak. Added to this, the bubbles are tiny, ticking the final box of a wine which now, and in years to come, people are going to be excited about. Jancis Robinson describes it as an intellectual wine, and it is. But it is also incredibly vivacious and approachable. What is also clear, is that this is a wine which whilst delivering loads of pleasure now is going to offer even more with time.
Krug 2002 is all it has been hyped up to be and then some. I’ll just quietly pop my Che Guevara beret back in the drawer and dream of the food I might pair it with*.
Thanks to The Drinks Emporium for a wonderful tasting and for all the photos.
* Sweet potato and mango ratatouille, turkey with apple and chestnut stuffing, rhubarb and ginger crumble.