Krug is one of the world’s most iconic champagne houses. The house was founded in 1843 by German-born Johann Josef Krug – a former partner at Jacquesson who relinquished his position in order to settle in Reims and set up his own company. The generations of Krugs that followed saw the family name evolve into a prestigious global brand.
For more than 150 years the business was family owned (a detail that had become an integral part of its image and appeal). In 1999, however, it joined the portfolio of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, though the family continues to run the house with a degree of autonomy.
Produced under the direction of Chef de Cave Eric Lebel, Krug’s wines include a (NV) Grand Cuvée, a (NV) rosé, a vintage and two single-vineyard cuvées – Clos du Mesnil and Clos d’Ambonnay. Unusually, the house terms its Grand Cuvée “multi vintage” rather than “non vintage”, as it is composed of a relatively high percentage of mature vintage wines. Whilst some are decidedly sceptical about the use of this term, the wine’s prices – and scores – often keep pace with those of prestige cuvées.
The 1998 vintage
Having retasted Krug 1998 in December last year, Antonio Galloni claims that the offering “isn’t the most complex Krug Vintage”, though it is a “gorgeous wine for near-term drinking” – 94 points. The same vintage of Clos du Mesnil, however, received rave reviews. Galloni judged the Krug a 96-pointer, calling it “a remarkably taut, focused bottle… with great energy and minerality”. His sentiments echo those of Neal Martin, who awarded the wine 98 points in 2008.
After experiencing rapid price growth between 2006 and 2008, the past two years have seen champagne prices rise at a more sedate pace. This is no doubt due in part to the Asian market’s current taste for top Bordeaux – and Chinese buyers’ conspicuous indifference to vintage champagne. As a result, the Liv-ex 25 Champagne Index has risen by just 7% over the past year, whilst top vintages of Krug are up around 5%.
Though the brand as a whole has made rather slow progress, older vintages of Krug have fared relatively well since December 09, with the 1989 and the 1988 rising in value by 23% and 17% respectively.
The table below shows the market prices of the last six vintages of Krug, alongside their scores from Antonio Galloni. The 1989 stands out as particularly good value for money at £2,300 per case, whilst those with a hankering for something special may want to consider the ‘95 (£1,250 p/b) and ’96 (£1,125 p/b) vintages of Krug’s Clos d’Ambonnay – both of which are currently available on the exchange.
Scores from erobertparker.com.