Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Krug, small but important Champagne house founded in Rheims in 1843 by Johann Krug, who was born in Mainz, Germany, in 1800 and had come to work in Champagne, seeking French citizenship. From 1824 he was known as Joseph. By 1866 the firm occupied its current modest cellars, around whose courtyard the Krug family lived until 2014. Krug does not make an ordinary non-vintage champagne but specializes exclusively in prestige cuvées, of which the multi-vintage Grande Cuvée is the flagship, having replaced the rather fuller-bodied Private Cuvée in 1979. Grande Cuvée was first made with a blend of 60 to 70 wines from five to six different years, in addition to the current harvest, but a total of 148 wines from more than ten years went into the blend in 2014. Consistently producing champagne that is among the most admired in its region of origin, Krug is the only house to persist in barrel fermentation of its entire production of base wine, in old 205-l/54-gal casks. In 1971, Krug acquired and replanted the Clos du Mesnil, a walled vineyard of less than 2 ha/5 acres. Its Chardonnay grapes provide one of Champagne’s very few single-vineyard, or cru, wines of which the 1979 vintage was the first. The 0.68 ha/1.7 acres of Clos d’Ambonnay planted exclusively with Pinot Noir is responsible for an ever more expensive wine launched with the 1995 vintage. Small quantities of the finest vintage Krug, released at very similar prices to Grande Cuvée, are released, as Krug Collection, about ten years after their initial release. In 2012, acknowledging the considerable variation between the Grande Cuvées produced each year, Krug introduced back label codes identifying when each cuvée was disgorged. Krug has been owned by LVMH since 1999 although sixth-generation Olivier Krug is part of the tasting committee and represents the house in Champagne and abroad.