Krug Vintage 2006
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krug-vintage-2006

Krug Vintage 2006

Sale price$595.00
Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne & Côtes des Blancs, Champagne, France

Style: Champagne Brut

Varieties: Pinot Noir (48%), Chardonnay (35%), Pinot Meunier (17%)

Closure: Cork

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Krug Vintage 2006

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Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
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Producer: Krug

Country: France

Region: Champagne

Vintage: 2006

Critic Score: 99 and 18/20

Alcohol: 12.0%   Dosage: 6g/l

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2050


Incredibly complex. It's hard to imagine a better structured and balanced wine - James Halliday

James Halliday Top 100 of 2020

"Krug leaves other great champagnes in its wake, as it fills the senses to overflowing."  James Halliday 

Every Krug Vintage celebrates the distinct character of a particular year and is crafted to be exceptional and different. It is the Music of the Year, captured by Krug. A Krug Vintage is a blend of the most expressive wines from a single year enhanced by a stay of over ten years in the cellars. 

"The 2006 Krug Vintage is fabulous. Here the richness, breadth and texture of Pinot come through loud and clear in a Champagne that is classic Krug. Red plum, coffee, spice, baked apple tart and lemon confit all flesh out effortlessly in the glass. The ripeness of the year is evident, and yet the vibrancy of the Chardonnay lends so much energy. The 2006 can be enjoyed today, but also has the balance and stuffing to develop well for many years to come. This is a superb showing from the 2006."  Antonio Galloni

"When we create a blend for a new Krug Vintage, we want to tell the story of the year – of what surprised and enchanted us. In 2006, all three Champagne grapes showed beautiful indulgence and maturity across our selected plots. It was a year for elegant and balanced Meuniers evocative of pears and apples. The Chardonnays were classic with ample aromas, while the Pinot Noirs of the Marne revealed promising structure and great potential.

For Krug, the year 2006 gave birth to a great and classic Krug Champagne. Krug 2006 is a story of indulgence, charm, roundness and elegance, nicknamed 'Capricious Indulgence' by the House’s Tasting Committee members. At first sight, the intense golden colour promises round generosity. Very expressive and indulgent nose revealing yellow and dried fruit, toasted almonds, hazelnut, maple syrup, meringue and mandarin liqueur. On the palate it is generous, deep, ample and fresh with automatic persistence and a long finish. It has notes of nougat, frangipane, pastry, tarte tatin, plenty of citrus with a beautiful finish on pink grapefruit skin.

For the final blend, the selected wines were those best exhibiting the unique, silky roundness of the year with a good structure and length. Pinot Noir constitutes almost half (48%) of the blend, with the majority coming from plots in Montagne de Reims Nord, Sud and Les Riceys. Ripe and full-bodied Chardonnays (35%) add roundness and opulence while Meuniers (17%) from Leuvrigny and Sainte-Gemme bring tension and length.

The generous aromatic and expressive profile of Krug 2006 comes after 12 years in the cellars, gaining in balance and finesse."  Krug

Expert reviews

"Krug leaves other great champagnes in its wake, as it fills the senses to overflowing. A blend of 48% pinot noir, 35% chardonnay and 17% pinot meunier; 12 years on tirage. It has an incredibly complex play between berry fruits and spicy brioche flavours and it's hard to imagine a better structured and balanced wine. Drink by: N/A."  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 99 points and Top 100 Wines of 2020

"A stunner, with mouthwatering vibrancy and focus married to all of the opulence of a great 2006 Champagne. Richly fragrant, offering nutmeg, cardamom, jasmine, lemongrass, espresso and grilled nut notes enmeshed in a core of black currant and tangerine fruit flavors. Beautifully creamy and complex, this glides across the palate on the long, lasting finish."  Wine Spectator – 97 points

"The 2006 Krug Vintage is fabulous. Here the richness, breadth and texture of Pinot come through loud and clear in a Champagne that is classic Krug. Red plum, coffee, spice, baked apple tart and lemon confit all flesh out effortlessly in the glass. The ripeness of the year is evident, and yet the vibrancy of the Chardonnay lends so much energy. The 2006 can be enjoyed today, but also has the balance and stuffing to develop well for many years to come. This is a superb showing from the 2006."  Antonio Galloni, Vinous - 97 points

"Krug's superb 2006 Brut, which will be released this year, numbers among the vintage's high points, unfurling in the glass with a complex and expressive bouquet of tarte tatin, warm biscuits, ginger, honeycomb, dried white flowers, smoke and toasted nuts. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and textural, with a fleshy attack that reflects the warm vintage but segues into a beautifully vibrant palate that's deep and surprisingly reserved, displaying superb definition, delicately chalky structure and a long, lively finish. While this is a powerful vintage Krug, it's also beautifully balanced and will give immense pleasure for decades." William Kelley, Wine Advocate - 97 points (Tasted Apr 2019)

As I reported when it was released, Krug's 2006 Brut is clearly one of the vintage's highlights. Offering up aromas of dried fruits, pear, freshly baked bread, caramelized apples, honeycomb and toasted sourdough, it's full-bodied, deep and layered, with superb concentration, racy acids and an impressively tightly wound profile for this demonstrative vintage. I observed last year that this is surprisingly reserved for the vintage, and if anything, that quality is even more in evidence today. While many 2006 Champagnes are likely to be at their best in their demonstrative youth, this is one wine unquestionably built for the long haul. Drink 2020-2045."  William Kelley, Wine Advocate - 97 points (Tasted Sep 2020)

"Krug 2006 is composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier and shows an impressive aromatic richness of white flowers, smoke and toasted hazelnuts. There's both density and crystalline texture here, with a vinous palate that's deep and complex too. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it's a superb Champagne."  Decanter – 97 points

"The deep golden coloured hue speaks of a warm vintage's wine. Already the nose reveals a big character with great presence. The toast and dried fruit lead nose comes with no shyness but bold yet finely integrated oaky touches and spicy complexity. On the palate the sweet vanilla tones turn towards honey with nutty notes persisting on the long, intense after taste. The Pinot Noir prominent palate is generous and supple but stylishly refreshed by a fine, brisk acidic backbone. Beautifully textured and seductive and finishing with a nice bite of crispness and minerality. It has come around early but there is structure and intensity to support great ageing."  Essi Avellan MW – 95-97 points

"This is a very deep and layered vintage Champagne with a round, ample mouth feel. It's full-bodied with lots of cooked apple and mirabelle, as well as biscuit undertones. Hints of stone and flint. It's flavorful. Delicious now and will age beautifully."  James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com – 96 points

"This was assistant winemaker Julie Cavil’s first tasting of the still base wines and is therefore her first known vintage on the market! Chef de Caves Eric Lebel was ill that summer. Outstanding Pinot Noir. Quite rich and polished. No hint of astringency. But zesty on top and with lots of undertow. (I've never heard anyone say of a Krug vintage that it shouldn't have been released.) Long with a particularly rich finish."  Jancis Robinson MW – 18/20 points

"More savoury than the Clos du Mesnil 2006 and with more obvious autolysis. The nose is decidedly steely and the palate somehow manages to be both firm and yet quite rich with a considerable undertow. This is a distinctly muscular champagne: big, bold and definitely approachable. I tried the open bottle again a couple of days later and the wine didn't seem to have changed much in bottle."  Jancis Robinson MW – 18/20 points

Awards

James Halliday Top 100 of 2020

Julie Cavil

Julie Cavil, Cellar Master at KrugJulie Cavil, Cellar Master at Krug

The article below by Adam Lechmere appeared in Club Oenologique 

In many professions, a senior executive moving into the top job regards it as an article of faith that they should stamp their personality on the organisation. Julie Cavil – who, a year ago, took over from Eric Lebel as chef de cave at Champagne Krug – sees her role somewhat differently.

Coming in and making her own rules would be easy, she says. "Anyone can do that." The true challenge, she says, is not to make sweeping changes, but still achieve greatness.  "What really motivates me is to be able to re-create the same level of excellence, year after year, circumstance after circumstance."

In Champagne, consistency is all. It’s not a matter of having a style (Cavil says there is no such thing at Krug) but instead achieving something both simple and intangible. On one level, it’s straightforward: the winemaker’s job is to follow the founder Joseph Krug’s ambition to make "the very best Champagne … every year, regardless of annual climate variations". This expression of excellence must take account of so many variables, however, that it can become as complicated as a game of 4D chess. Not only are you blending wines from dozens of different vineyard sites – "paying close attention to the vineyard’s character, respecting the individuality of each plot" – but you are also tapping into an extensive library of reserve wines from many different years.

This is not something you can learn at business school. Cavil worked with Lebel for 13 years before being anointed cellar master. (The word "anointed", with its implications of conferring divine or holy office, is appropriate.) The first thing he taught her, she says, was patience: "A journey with Krug is a lifelong milestone. Just as I cannot tell you at what precise moment a reserve wine will be ready until the day I taste it and the decision becomes obvious, passing the torch is something you feel but cannot always explain." For Cavil, it came relatively soon after joining Krug in 2006. "After two years, Eric and I had chosen each other," she says. "We both knew I would be his successor."

At this level, all of Krug’s six winemakers have the necessary skills to make Champagne. But there are also what Cavil calls the "intangible aspects of craftsmanship: intuition, passion and an intimate knowledge of each plot". These elements can’t easily be taught but, rather, seem innate. So should a chef de cave share character traits with their predecessor? "I would say so, for one very important reason: when you become Krug cellar master, you become one with the house, the guardian of its legacy. At Krug, each cellar master naturally arrives in this role because he or she shares the values of excellence, attention to detail, curiosity, quality without compromise, and respect for heritage – all with a maverick spirit. I am no different whether I am at Krug or at home; it is part of who I am, just as it was for my predecessors."

Making Champagne is, of course, a business as well as a craft – and like all businesses, it must be safeguarded for the future. The mentoring process is continuous. "My role at Krug is threefold," Cavil says. "It relates to the present, the past and the future." The vineyards must be husbanded, the reserve wines selected, and a successor must be groomed. "Carrying on the legacy of a Champagne house that has existed for six generations means you make it your mission to protect and perpetuate this heritage, just as you would pass on a legacy to your own child. When mentor and mentee share this vision, the future of the house is secured, which is what matters most."

Julie Cavil and Eric Lebel
Julie Cavil and Eric Lebel

The article below by Wine Advocate's William Kelley appeared in the Michelin Guide Magazine 

On January 1, Julie Cavil took on the role of Cellar Master at Krug. Cavil began working at Krug 13 years ago, and outgoing Cellar Master Eric Lebel will be staying on in the capacity of Deputy Director of Maison Krug, so this is hardly revolutionary news. But the appointment of a new chef des caves is nonetheless an important moment in the history of any Champagne house. To learn more about the woman who has landed one of Champagne’s most coveted positions and about the future of Maison Krug, William Kelley of The Wine Advocate sat down with Cavil for her first interview in her new capacity.

You’ve had an unusual career for a chef des caves. How did you end up in the wine world? Were you born into a family of wine lovers?

I’m not from Reims nor even Champagne, and if you’d told me 15 years ago that I would be living in Champagne, that I’d be an oenologist, and that I’d be working for Krug, I truly wouldn’t have believed you. So, working in wine represented a revolution in my life. I’m from the center region of France, and, yes, from a family of wine lovers, so I was certainly aware of wine - but at age 17, when I had to choose a career, I opted to go to business school before working for six years in public relations in Paris. At 17, my palate was still comparatively undeveloped. But with time, I became passionate about wine - reading books, attending tastings with professionals. And I was also thinking about leaving Paris, about how to construct a more balanced professional life. You see, the world of public relations is inherently ephemeral, with a rapid turnover in projects and personnel, whereas the world of wine, it’s the opposite: it takes time, it’s durable. So in fact, what I was looking for in my professional life was perfectly aligned with my growing passion for wine. I duly went to Champagne and went back to school, despite meeting with a somewhat skeptical reception - "she’s too old, she has children already," and so on. Indeed, in the end, that only motivated me further to prove myself and confound stereotypes. I did internships at Moët & Chandon, with Dom Pérignon, and then I joined the team at Krug in 2006.

It’s true that the worlds of public relations and wine couldn’t be more different - after all, with the just-released 2006 Krug, we are finally getting to taste the Maison’s work of over a decade ago - but do your experiences in your former career inform what you do today in any respect?

Having the experience of working in a totally different field perhaps gives me a different perspective on Champagne - it’s easier for me to step back and see things in context, and perhaps sometimes to reconsider them. It isn’t easy to put a finger on it. But above all I simply take pleasure in working in a much more long-term business; because, in a sense, I have three jobs - the first is to recreate Grande Cuvée every year; but looking back in time, I also have to preserve the institutional memory of Maison Krug; and looking forward, I also have to think about how to transmit that heritage, everything we’ve learned and continue to learn, to my successors - even if I’ve only just assumed my new role. So, I have to think about the past and the future as well as the present. And perhaps that’s a reaction against my prior career.

The Grande Cuvée, in its various manifestations, has always been Krug’s emblematic bottling, the bottling that expresses the house style to the fullest. How would you characterize it?

Above all, the Grande Cuvée is what we call "the founder’s dream:"Joseph Krug’s vision to recreate every year, by blending, the fullest expression of what Champagne has to offer; and that’s what we try to perpetuate. But what does that mean? It has to be a charismatic wine that’s exciting from the first glass - its flavors, its textures, its colors. It has to be capable of pairing with all sorts of food, of reconciling paradoxes in the glass: it must be expressive and mature, but also fresh and vivacious. When we say Krug Grande Cuvée, it’s a blend of 150 to 200 different wines, from 10 to 15 different vintages. It takes a minimum of 20 years to make one bottle. I think that makes it clear - you have the fresh fruit of the recent harvest, the dried and preserved fruits of the older vintages in the blend, and the Grande Cuvée encompasses them all. Beyond that, I’m delighted when someone puts their nose in a glass of Krug for the first time and says, "that’s different!," and wants to take a second sniff. And of course, even if it’s a blend from across the region, it’s a homage to the terroirs of Champagne, with every parcel kept separate during vinification and maturation, and assembled in the most complementary way.

Krug’s style is quite pronounced. How do you make sense of the relationship between a strong house style and the expression of Champagne’s terroirs?

Terroir finds its purist voice in the wines we make from the Clos du Mesnil and the Clos d’Ambonnay. They’re pure expressions of two sites - and two cépages, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - in all their individuality. But we don’t seek to express terroir simply for its own sake. Consider one of our parcels, where the soil changes from one end to the other very markedly. We always used to vinify the parcel as a whole, but now we’re more inclined to make two different wines from the two different parts of the parcel. Because that way we can bring out the maximal expression of both. In other words, like I said, we don’t seek to express terroir for its own sake; we simply seek to do justice to each site, to make the best possible wine from each site. And that gives us the highest-quality and most characterful components with which to produce the best possible blend.

If you had to pick a bottle - or bottles - of Krug that have particularly shaped your understanding of the house, which would they be?

What makes the biggest impression on me every year is when we make the blends, on the one hand, the Grande Cuvée - trying to express the best of Champagne - and on the other hand, the vintage, trying to express the personality of the year to the fullest. Working on the two side by side is unique, and every time it’s fascinating.

As far as particular vintages are concerned, I have a weakness for the 1995. I think it’s a little in the shadow of the 1996, but the 1995 has a classical balance, with wonderful freshness, that I like very much.

And among the very oldest, 1915. Why? My first job at Krug was to take an inventory of the wine library, noting all the particulars of each bottle one by one. And it happened that, while I was working on this project, the cork of one of the bottles came out. So, I had 15 minutes to assemble the tasting committee, including the fifth generation of the family represented by Remi Krug, as well as Olivier Krug and Maggie Henríquez. And I served them the wine blind, giving them some time to reflect in silence. It was very amusing, because in the end everyone said it was something from the 1950s or 1960s, when in fact it was 1915. The aromas were very concentrated, and on the palate, it was still strikingly fresh, and that’s why everyone thought it was younger. It was a great moment. What I learned working with Krug’s old wines was to be humble, because sometimes even the bottles that didn’t look promising in terms of level and preservation turned out to be fabulous and remarkably long-lived.

What makes Krug special?

That’s not easy to summarize! But what makes us a little different is that we produce a prestige Cuvée every year - because that’s what Joseph Krug defined as the objective in his notebooks all those years ago - with no hierarchy between the non-vintage and the vintage bottlings. And so, anyone who likes Krug doesn’t have to wait for a "great vintage: they can have the experience with every bottle. What else? From an oenological perspective, our obsession is to preserve the character of each parcel throughout the winemaking and maturation process, so we have at our disposal the richest and most varied palette with which to produce our blends. Barrel fermentation is the only way we can do that, the only way we can vinify every tiny parcel separately. And certainly, barrel fermentation gives a patina to the wines of Maison Krug. I wouldn’t say, honestly, that it’s better or worse than stainless steel - it’s a choice, a style. But perhaps you could say it’s like the difference between hi-fi and stereo: barrel fermentation, like hi-fi, expresses everything more intensely - the good as well as the less good. And it can be more complicated on a technical level. But I also think the fact that our wines are exposed to oxygen early in their lives means that they are less susceptible to oxidation later, which helps to explain Krug’s unusually long aging potential - almost indestructible when stored in the best conditions.

Being a chef des caves for a house like Krug is a position of immense responsibility and imposes a lot of pressures. Does it leave you much creative freedom?

Well, this new position isn’t a radical transformation: I’ve been at Krug for 13 years, and Eric Lebel and I naturally got on well; Eric opened the doors of his universe to me. So, the first thing to say is that I’m prepared - and, of course, Eric will still be at Krug, just a little more backstage. That’s very reassuring.

The other thing to know is that the important decisions aren’t made by one person - that would really be hard. The tasting committee, for me, is very important. I’m very proud of our group, it’s talented, humble and experienced, with a variety of perspectives and palates that all bring something to the table and help us get closer to our objective.

And beyond that, the prospect that excites me certainly isn’t to change everything - that would be easy. Rather, it’s to attain the same level of excellence, year after year, vintage after vintage - that’s much more challenging, more motivating, and that’s what I want to do. That said, we do have to question what we do every year: there is no recipe, each year is a blank slate. And I do want to work - and in fact I have been working - on studying our parcels, understanding them better, dividing them more intelligently to farm them accordingly and to vinify them accordingly. So, you could say precision viticulture is one thing that excites me. As does a move towards sustainability - and that includes not just the vineyards but taking care of our workers.

That brings me to the greatest challenge facing contemporary Champagne: how to produce wine in a more sustainable manner?

Well it’s a project we’ve been working on for some time already, and there are lots of things to do. We’re looking at how we can be more precise in tracking ripening throughout our parcels as we approach harvest, as getting the date right is more and more critical: we don’t like to correct the must once it’s pressed, so we have to pick at the right moment. At a more long-term level, we’re looking at massale selections that might help to buffer the impact of climate change; at pruning methods, where we have to re-educate our workers; as well as how to promote deeper rooting. We’ve used zero herbicides for several years now, and even if we’re not organic or biodynamic, we’re as close to organic as we can be. But our view, for the time being, is that sometimes it’s still necessary to intervene to save the harvest. There are aspects of biodynamics that interest us and we’re studying them. In short, we remain open-minded and curious, exposing ourselves to other ideas. For example, it’s a small thing, but we’ve found that grazing sheep in the vines can bring advantages in terms of biodiversity. So, we’re experimenting with that in one of our parcels. And it goes beyond simply using or not using synthetic products.

And what is the greatest challenge facing Krug today?

It’s to be able to continue to make Grande Cuvée every year. That’s to say, to have all the prerequisites to produce the fullest expression of Champagne. So, it’s a huge challenge, it’s very stimulating, it’s very motivating. As far as I’m concerned, I have the best job in the world! And I’m very proud to be able to take the baton from Eric, and by extension his predecessors, and to be working alongside an extraordinary team.

About the winery

 Maison Krug

Founded in 1843 by Joseph Krug, it is no exaggeration to say that Maison Krug is the most prestigious winery in AOC Champagne, as well as the world's most famed sparkling wine producer.

Joseph Krug was born in Mainz, Germany in 1800. He left Mainz in 1824 and in 1834 was employed by Champagne Jacquesson as an accountant. He spent eight years with Jacquesson, his work taking him well beyond accountancy as he toured Europe liaising with wine sellers and customers. He also learned about composition and taste, so that by 1840 he was blending Champagne for at least one other house. In 1841 he married and a year later his son Paul was born. The same year he moved to Reims, and following a year of negotiations, he founded Krug et Cie. in 1843. Joseph was fluent in French, English and German and spoke some Russian, which allowed the company to exploit key overseas markets.

Joseph died in 1866 and was succeeded by his son Paul Krug. Joseph had laid the foundations for the business and under the supervision of Paul, the House was established as a grande marque. By the 1880s the prestige of Krug was acknowledged in the United Kingdom, then the primary overseas market for Champagne. In 1866 the House moved into the premises in Rue Coquebert, in Reims, that it still occupies today.

From its inception, Maison Krug set out to produce world-class sparkling wines with a consistent level of quality, regardless of the vagaries of each vintage. Krug Grande Cuvée was born, the staple of the company and the only sparkling wine that they release onto the market every year. A non-vintage Champagne, it is made by blending about 120 different cuvée wines from 10 different vintages. Some of the reserve wines are over 15 years of age. The consistency in the taste of the Grande Cuvéealong over the years attests to the remarkable craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail of Maison Krug's winemaking team. 

In addition to the non-vintage Grande Cuvée, Krug produces small quantities of the following wines:

Krug Rosé NV
Krug Rosé was first made in 1983, 140 years after the company's founding. It is a blend of three grape varieties, several different vintages from Krug's library of 150 reserve wines and a skin-fermented Pinot Noir wine which gives it its colour and unique flavour. Krug Rosé spends at least five years in the House's cellars. It is re-created on a yearly basis.

Krug Vintage
According to the House, the Krug Vintage is not the selection of the best wines of a particular year", but rather the expression of that vintage year. Composed only of wines from a single year, Krug Vintage sits in Krug's cellars for at least a decade before release.

Krug Clos du Mesnil
A blanc de blancs. Comes from a single plot (clos in French) of Chardonnay: a 1.84-hectare vineyard in the centre of Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Cotes de Blancs, protected by walls since 1698. It comes from a single year and is kept in Krug's cellars for over a decade.

Krug stresses that the wall and unusual location in the center of the village create a micro-climate that gives a unique character to its grapes. It was for this reason that the House was inspired to devote a Champagne to a single plot for the first time in its history, resulting in Krug Clos du Mesnil 1979, presented in 1986.

Krug Clos d'Ambonnay
A blanc de noirs. Also comes from a single year, and its grapes from a single 0.68-hectare walled plot of Pinot noir in the heart of Ambonnay, another village in France's Champagne region that plays a key role in Champagne making. Bottles are aged for over twelve years in Krug's cellars and are rare due to the small size of the vineyard. Krug purchased the land in 1994 and released its first vintage - Krug Clos d'Ambonnay 1995 - in 2007.

Krug Collection
In the early 1980s, Krug introduced Krug Collection, an extension of Krug Vintage, consisting of bottles that have been kept in the House's cellars in Reims for at least ten additional years to allow the development of second-life aromas and flavours.

Vineyards

The House owns 30% of the vineyards that produce its wines, a relatively high percentage in Champagne, with 20 hectares of vines in Ambonnay, Aÿ, Le Mesnil and Trépail. The rest of the grapes come from around 100 long-term contract growers who supply 65% to 70% of the company's grapes.

In total, Krug sources grapes from 250 plots in the Champagne region – there are around 270,000 plots listed within the boundaries of AOC Champagne. Planted with the traditional varieties Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, each vineyard is individually vinified according to its particular characteristics. As Krug preserves the individual character of each wine, winegrowers are able to taste each of the wines selected from their plots and follow their evolution over time in the event that their wines are selected as Krug reserve wines.

Winemaking

Immediately following the harvest, the grapes are pressed close to Krug's plots, with this first grape juice kept for 24 hours in a vat in preparation for the fermentation stage. The pressing from each plot is vinified separately. A pressing contains 4,000 kg of grapes and yields 20.5 hectolitres of first juice (the "cuvée"), which is poured into twelve oak casks chosen at random. Once fermentation is complete, the eleventh and twelfth casks are used to top up the other ten casks to protect the new wines from oxidation. For fifteen days, each cask is topped up with wine from the same plot.

Krug uses small 205-litre Argonne oak casks tailor-made from trees that are more than two centuries old in the forests of Hautes Futaies in Central France. Krug never uses these casks immediately; during the first two or three years they receive only second and third grape juices, with the goal of "tanning" the casks through the fermentation process, ridding them naturally of their woody aromas, making them well-seasoned and organoleptically inert. The average age of Krug oak casks is 20 years. They are retired after approximately 40 years of use.

During the summer preceding the harvest, casks are regularly watered to humidify the wood, a process Krug deems essential as its wines are not wood-aged and its casks are therefore empty for eight to nine months of the year.

The wines remain in the casks for several weeks. Finally, between December and January, the wine is drawn off into small stainless-steel vats. From here, depending on the decisions of Krug's tasting committee (see below), the wines will either contribute to that year's assemblage or be stored in steel vats in the House's library of 150 reserve wines to be used in the blend of a future Krug Grande Cuvée or Krug Rosé.

Tasting committee and assemblage

Over a five-month period in autumn and winter, Cellar Master Julie Cavil and the Tasting Committee have a series of sessions during which they taste over 400 wines, including around 250 wines of the vintage year and 150 reserve wines from at least 10 different years, each of them from a single plot. In this way, each of the 400 wines can be appraised before any blending decision is made.

At each session, between 15 and 18 samples are blind tasted, commented on and scored. During the tasting period, wine from each plot is carefully referenced, tasted at least two or three times and given a mark out of 20. By the end of December, the tasting committee has established what Krug calls a "character sketch" of the vintage year and begins tasting the 150 reserve wines from which it will draw the missing elements needed to re-create the character of Krug Grande Cuvée year after year.

In the spring, a second tasting session of wines from the year reveals how the wines have evolved over the winter period. Julie Cavil then proposes up to three blends for the Champagnes of that year, with each member of the committee having one vote. Once the blend has been decided, the House prepares for bottling which takes place once a year between April and May.

All Krug Champagnes are bottled during a single session, around thirty weeks after the harvest.

Cellars

Once bottled, they are kept in the House's cellars in Reims. Krug characterizes this final stage of its winemaking process by very extended aging on the lees. Indeed, Krug's main champagne, Krug Grande Cuvée usually stays in the cellars for at least seven years, Krug Rosé for five years, and Krug Vintage, Krug Clos du Mesnil and Krug Clos d'Ambonnay for at least ten years. 

wine region map of france

France

There are 16 major French wine regions, each known for their own unique grape varieties, terroir and wines. They are Alsace, Armagnac, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Bugey, Burgundy, Champagne, Cognac, Corsica, Jura, Languedoc- Roussillon, Loire Valley, Provence, Savoie, South-West and the Rhône Valley.

The largest region is Languedoc- Roussillon, the oldest is Provence, the most influential and famous are Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire Valley and the Rhône Valley.

French wine is labelled by wine region or appellation rather than by grape variety (except in Alsace). In order to guarantee the quality and provenance of French wines, the French government established the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system. Under this system the wine label indicates the geographical origin, quality and, generally, the style of a wine. Many regions are home to multiple appellations; for example, the prestigious Bordeaux region in the southwest of France has over 60 growing appellations.