With big, toasty aromas of peach, ginger and hazelnut, Krug 2006 – introduced in the UK this week – offers a strong contrast to previous vintage 2004’s linear elegance and vivacity.
‘A vintage at Krug is really the expression of the circumstances of a specific year,’ said Eric Lebel, Krug cellar master. ‘We will not choose the “best-in-class” wines of the year, because they don’t exist at Krug.
‘What we want to do is to really select the wines that best tell the story of the specific year. It’s really the expression of the story of the tasting: what surprised us, what enchanted us.’
It was ‘not an easy year’ in the vineyards, Lebel added, with temperatures topping 30°C on 23 days (seven is more normal in champagne), and two months’ worth of rain falling in only 15 days in August.
Good conditions in September and at harvest time helped elevate the quality of the year, with ‘generosity and opulence’ the two key words for all three classic champagne grape varieties, Lebel said.
The blend – 48% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Meunier – includes less Meunier than in 2004 (24%), but grapes sourced from key plots in Saint-Gemme and Leuvrigny in the Marne Valley bring an appley tang and tension to the mid-palate.
Meanwhile, the majority of the Pinot Noir in the blend comes from Montagne de Reims (north and south), with some also coming from the steep-sloped southern enclave of Les Riceys.
According to Krug winemaking director Julie Cavil, Krug 2006 is capable of standing up to dishes of ‘strong character’, such as slow-roasted leg of lamb, tagine with lemon confit, foie gras or duck breast grilled over grape vines.
Krug 2006 spent 12 years in the house's cellars before release and is available through LVMH with RRP of £240 from tomorrow 16 October.