Earlier this month Krug announced the launch of its 2004 vintage champagne, we sat down with Olivier Krug to discuss the latest release and why the on-trade is so crucial.
How does this latest release sit within the Krug library of vintages?
‘It is the third in a rare trilogy, following on from Krug 2003 and then Krug 2002 – in the order of release. The only other time this has happened at the House was with Krug 1988, Krug 1989 and Krug 1990.
‘Vintages have always been part of Krug’s history: in his vision for champagne creation set out in his notebook dating back to 1848, our founder Joseph Krug talked about the two champagnes he believed a good champagne House should create: he describes his Champagne No. 1 as the fullest expression of champagne, now known as Krug Grande Cuvée, while his Champagne No. 2 was to be created “according to the circumstances of the year”. To this day, every Krug Vintage is the story of a particular year, captured by Krug.’
How important is the UK on-trade to Krug?
‘It is very important indeed. We rely on the actors of the on-trade to pass on our story, and give the best possible experience to their customers – including perfect service and temperature of the champagne.’
What role can sommeliers play in helping consumers to appreciate champagne?
‘I really feel it’s key that sommeliers do not intimidate young clientele – people whose expectations from ordering a champagne are high. It’s the story, not the technicalities that are the selling points – and at Krug, the story begins with our founder Joseph Krug, a visionary non-conformist with an uncompromising philosophy whose dream was to offer the very best champagne every year, regardless of variations in climate.’
The UK is a developed market for champagne, do you see any potential areas for growth?
‘Yes, indeed! There is huge potential for champagne lovers who still do not know that there is one champagne house that has created only prestige champagnes every year since its foundation.’
How was the vintage this year?
‘Eric Lebel, our cellar master, will only tell you about the 2017 harvest in March 2018 at the end of the lengthy tasting process. It is then that will he decide which of this year’s wines will contribute to the blends, based on his intuition and more than 4,000 tasting notes. Those that do not may enter the house’s extensive library of reserve wines.’
Tell us about ‘Les Créations de 2004’?
‘Alongside Krug 2004, we have also released a small number of Krug Grande Cuvée 160ème Édition specially kept in our cellars for this moment. Krug Grande Cuvée is the first and only prestige champagne to have been recreated every year since the House of Krug was founded. Composed around the harvest of 2004, Krug Grande Cuvée 160ème Édition represents the 160th re-creation of the fullest expression of champagne as envisioned by Joseph Krug. Les Créations de 2004 is a limited-edition tribute to his vision for champagne creation.’