A great eight hour long dinner at a friends place to enjoy and compare various bottles of Krug and then to try some various wines afterward.
The food was as follows;
-Amuse bouche: fresh oysters, salmon and avocado tartare, confit of ocean trout, duck and beetroot tartlet.
-Terrine au Saumon
-Roast Rainbow Trout
-Raspberry tarte with fresh cream
-Selection of various cheeses
The first flight compared the three labels that have been on the Krug Grande Cuvee bottle. There has been some discussion on various message boards that the new label bottles have been not up to the Krug standard. One bottle I have had previously of the new label was brilliant and one was disappointing, in this case the new label performed well – but was blown away by the old old label. I can see the new label going in the same direction though and it too should be unbelievable with time.
MV Krug Grande Cuvée (disgorged 1987)
Golden yellow colour. Incredibly fine bead. From the very first intake of aroma this left me stunned. Incredibly complex aromas of hazelnut, lightly burnt butter, earthy, ginger, caramel and chocolate. The palate is superb, exhibiting great power, texture and depth at the same time as the fresh acidity cleanses and refreshes across the incredible length of the wine, leaving you wanting more after every sip. Structurally flawless. This is the kind of experience that changes how you think about wine.
MV Krug Grande Cuvée (disgorged 2003)
Straw yellow colour. Very fine bead with good mousse. Nose is shy to begin with but opens up with time in the glass to reveal nutty oak, lemon, floral notes and some nutmeg. Great intensity and carry of flavour across the palate with a creamy texture along and a strongly structured acid backbone. Delightful to drink.
MV Krug Grande Cuvée (disgorged 2005)
Slightly lighter colour than the 03 disgorgement. Slightly larger bead than the previous two but still fine. The nose is powerful with lemon, graphite, smoke, peach and lime. The freshness of the palate is incredible. Intense fresh flavour and pinpoint focused acidity leading into a long, long finish. Obviously the one needing the most time of the three to develop, but still enjoyable now for my tastes.
The next flight showcased three vintages that are considered excellent years in Champagne. All three were excellent, with the 1988 standing out as a wine of distinction.
1976 Krug Vintage
Deep golden colour. Rich nose of butterscotch and caramel, honey, grilled nuts, toast and apricot. A lovely honeyed, sweet rich flavour to the long palate that is balanced out by the excellent acid structure. This bottle was in great condition, but it requires no further age, drink now and enjoy!
1982 Krug Vintage
A lighter yellow gold colour. The nose is reclusive, but it opened to show toast, nuts, dough and vanilla oak characters. The palate is more open, with intense, youthful characters and a long, lingering flavour. Excellent now, but seems to be in a bit of an awkward stage between youth and maturity. I think it may be a bit more coherent in 5 years time.
1988 Krug Vintage
Lighter again, straw gold colour. The nose is brilliantly layered with notes of pear, gunpowder, vanilla, smoke, lime, grilled cashew and floral undertones. The carry, persistence and depth of flavour along the palate is awe inspiring. This wine is the definition of class and it has the supreme structure and balance to get even better over the next 10+ years.
The final flight of Krug was a comparison of the old label Rose and the new label Rose. Of all the flights, this was the only one that disappointed. The wines were both very good, but at $450 a bottle very good does not cut it.
NV Krug Rosé (disgorged 1988)
Only very slightly darker in colour than the recent disgorgement. Ginger, caramel, toast and earth aromas to the appealing nose. The palate had a nice initial burst of simple flavour that faded away slightly toward the end. Good balance and enjoyable, but rather obviously not brilliant for my taste.
NV Krug Rosé (disgorged 2004)
Golden hued with just a tinge of pink. Fine bead comparable in size to the old disgorgement, but just slightly more aggressive in speed. Strawberry, brioche and toast on the lightly scented bouquet. Very light and fluffy palate weight with fresh flavour and good length. Nice to drink, but especially based on the older disgorgement, I can’t see this getting any better with age. Maybe I just don’t get these wines, but they seem to be missing the character to be considered exceptional.
Then to finish the night, a selection of random wines.
2006 Knappstein Clare Valley Ackland Vineyard Watervale Riesling
Opened at the start of the evening while waiting for people to arrive. Floral, lime, some botrytis style character. Some cloying sweetness and sherbet like flavour on the palate that ended oily and flabby. Got no better, and may in fact have been worse by the end of the night when we returned to it. The 2005 was very highly regarded, so this may be a product of the vintage.
1993 Domain Alain Burguet Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
Nose has good intensity of aroma with strong earth, pepper, raspberry and a slightly feral streak through it. The palate was not giving a whole lot with some stalk and otherwise looking pretty lean. An interesting wine, if only the palate lived up to the nose it may have been more.
2000 Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Cazetiers” 1er Cru
1982 Penfolds Bin 820 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz
Tobacco, rich blackcurrant, smoky oak, redcurrant and just a hint of background DMS. The palate is nicely integrated with the core of fruit richness just still holding things together. Drink up if you have bottles remaining.
1996 Rene Renou Bonnezeaux Cuvée Zenith
Poached pears, honeydew melon, kiwi fruit, honey and vanilla. Found the medium sweetness and intensity on the palate to want for a touch more acid. Simple at the moment, but could take on some complexity as long as the balance doesn’t slide too far out of place over the next 6-7 years.
2005 Mollydooker Carnival of Love McLaren Vale Shiraz
Ultra concentrated ripe and interesting nose of caramel, blackberry, blueberry, tar, blackcurrant, tobacco and a bit of spirit at the end of each sniff. The richness follows through onto the palate and it is quite approachable except for the slight spirity burning sensation down the back of my throat. I enjoyed trying it, but I don’t know that I could have faced a second glass and I think it would have overpowered any food it was served with. Don’t know that this has the structure to age, but time could prove me wrong. Glad I tried it, but I think I’ll leave it to the people that enjoy this style.
1996 Noon Grenache Shiraz
The nose consisted of pepper, smoky black cherry and some more alcohol. Palate lacks fruit and there is a burning sensation to the mouth-feel. Really struggled to drink this, I imagine that when it was young the fruit would have covered the problems somewhat, but now that it is fading they are all too apparent.
2005 Wild Duck Creek Fortified
A nice way to finish things off. On the nose there was liquorice, fennel, blueberry, earth and cherry. A smooth, sweet palate with just a touch of spice and florality to freshen it up and provide a needed lift. Very good length and actually very enjoyable to drink!