A good friend of mine likes to say that “life is not worth living without great Champagne.” Champagne is indeed one of life’s ultimate vinous pleasures. The process of making Champagne bubbly unlocks flavors and character found nowhere else in the world. I again was reminded that it is the ultimate symbol of celebration and of luxury on a recent visit to the house of Krug Champagne.

Few Champagnes exhibit artisan craftsmanship more, or reach the heights of esteem, as Champagne Krug. Connoisseurs the world over know Krug’s tradition for quality.

Founded in 1843, the house has been run by the Krug family ever since. The art of blending has been handed down from one generation to the next with Olivier Krug at the helm of the house today and master wine-maker Eric Lebel at his side. At its heart, Krug’s quality comes from the exceptional vineyard sources that rank as one of the highest averages among houses at 97 percent (100 percent being the best). It is one of the only producers in Champagne to use small, old oak barrels for its initial fermentation, which gives its wines a complexity beyond others. Krug also ages its wines far beyond the legal prerequisites for quality, giving the wine even more complexity and maturity.

It released the 1990 Vintage Krug in 2004!

Drinking Krug Champagne changes one’s whole attitude and energy. The tiny bubbles floating toward heaven act as a balloon for the spirit. The refreshment of chilled effervescence calms thirst. The complexity of the wine’s makeup among three different grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier) coming from many different villages and vineyards in the Champagne region, combined with the mystique of the master blender’s art, excites the palate and mind.

They produce four wines, all of them Prestige Cuvees that are of the highest order. The Grande Cuvee is no basic non-vintage. In fact Remy Krug is quoted as saying, “If Grande Cuvee is a basic non-vintage, then a Rolls Royce is just a car and the pope a priest.” It is a multi-vintage blend of perhaps more than 10 different vintages from up to 40 different villages and all three grape varieties. It represents the house style consistently being rich and deep, giving complexity akin to a symphony.

The Vintage Krug is the product of a single exceptional year’s harvest. Although distinctly Krug, it is marked by the character of the growing season. The 1995 Vintage is particularly elegant and smooth, just bursting with orchard fruit and a scintillatingly long aftertaste.

The “newest” of the line is the Krug Rose (first produced in 1983), which is always a blend of different vintages, taking its almost copper rose color from the addition of still red wine. It is gorgeous; it regales your palate like a queen at court.

And finally, the solo virtuoso is Krug Clos du Mesnil, a single vineyard wine from the Grand Cru Village of Le Mesnil, from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes and one single year’s harvest. It is one of the world’s most expensive wines, as well as one of its greatest.

Great Champagne is not cheap – luxury never is. If you want the best, Krug Champagne fits the bill.

And may I say that great Champagne makes life worth drinking.

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