Today we are releasing Krug Vintage 2002, from one of the world’s greatest Champagne houses. The 2002 vintage in Champagne is already becoming the stuff of legend and Krug’s release has been eagerly anticipated by the market. Jancis Robinson has already awarded it 19/20 points and calls it an ‘Exceptional wine’. At £800 per case of six in bond, this will sell out within the week.
The philosophy behind Krug Vintage is to produce a wine that reflects each vintage and not the selection of the best wines of a particular year; instead it is expression of that year. The 2002 released after the 2003 something Krug has done a few times in the past as they only release vintages when they feel they have evolved enough to be enjoyed immediately. Chef de Cave, Eric Lebel stated to us a few weeks ago that the 2002 growing season was perfect and his biggest challenge was selection as all the fruit grown for Krug was pushing itself forward for inclusion in the final blend. He compared Krug 2002 to a thoroughbred stallion with tremendous strength that needs to be reined in and controlled.
The results of this perfect growing season are breath-taking, one of the finest young Champagnes we have tasted and a wine for the ages. It is tightly wound with a touch of smoke on the nose, apples, and mandarin, buttery pastry, lemon curd, white flowers, crushed rock and oyster shell. The mouthfeel is enveloping with marked acidity and great complexity. Krug 2002 with continue to develop for 30+ years and will drink well for 50+ years.
Vintage Krug accounts for less than 10% of their overall production meaning supply is immediately under pressure. The less heralded Krug 2003 initially sold out within ten days and anticipated demand for the 2002 is very high. The release today will be followed by a second tranche release at a higher price at the beginning of 2017.
Vintage Krug is broadly considered one of the greatest Champagnes in the world and prices of mature vintages rise quickly after a decade, with the 1990 and 1996 already trade at over £2,800 per 12 bottle case.
Krug was established in 1843 by Joseph Krug and today Olivier Krug still supervises the houses’ production, tasting and blending; this represents six generations of stewardship. Krug is the only Champagne house that continues to produce their Champagnes in small oak casks, this is the essential component that defines its legendary intense bouquet and complex flavours. Krug’s superlative single vineyard Champagne is from a small walled vineyard, Le Mensil; it is the world’s leading Blanc de Blanc Champagne and exorbitantly expensive with an average bottle price of £600. Krug vintage is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay and in 2002 the assemblage was 40%, 21% and 39% respectively. Anecdotally Krug became a favourite tipple of the Queen Mother and when she was 97 she smuggled a case of Krug into the hospital where she was treated after falling and breaking her hip.
Jancis Robinson, 19/20 Points
“A blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 39% Chardonnay, 21% Pinot Meunier from a warm, dry, generous, homogenous year, with 11 years’ ageing on the lees.
This was tasted immediately after Krug 2003 and was so much more discreet and savoury than the 2003 on the nose. It is chock-full of acidity and life, is really muscular and much more intellectual. For the moment the 2002 is less obviously fruity than the 2003 – clearly a champagne for long ageing – like many other 2002s – but much more backward than any I can think of immediately. There is nothing in excess; a great example of the Krug art of assemblage. Very solid and concentrated but not heavy at all. The finish is notably dry. This may be an intellectual wine but it’s certainly not hard work!”