Krug Grand Cuvee 169th
|Region||France, Champagne, Reims|
52% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 13% Pinot Meunier. A gentle gold with discreet yet persistent mousse and aromatics of spring meadows, lemon sherbet and barley sugar; the wine is pure and softly powerful, youthful energy finely poised, somewhat cautious after so many years in the chalky cellars. The reserve wines, Pinot Noir from Verzenay and Chardonnay from Avize especially, are subtle in support, vivacious despite their relative maturity, contributing to an ensemble which is hitherto dominated by red fruit, courtesy of the superb Pinot Noir, and a colourful tension. Behind that there are whispers of honey, quince and posset… and with so much more to come; but the finish, happily in these days of privation, takes one to wherever one may wish to go.
In line with the producer’s practice of numbering each bottling of its flagship Grande Cuvée, this is the latest release. Following the house style, there is some marvelously impressive Pinot Noir in this rich, full blend. That gives the Champagne its luxurious feel, contrasting with the tension from the dryness and minerality. This bottling, which shows maturity, is ready to drink.
Krug's NV Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition is a classic in the making, wafting from the glass with aromas of dried fruits, pear, toasted nuts, orange zest, honeycomb and freshly baked bread. Medium to full-bodied, generous but incisive, it's deep and elegantly fleshy, with a beautifully refined mousse and an enveloping core of fruit that's complemented by the characteristic Krug patina of nutty complexity imparted by barrel fermentation. Even if this is more open out of the gates than the 2011-based 167ème edition, the 168ème edition is also the more concentrated and intense of the two. It's based on the 2012 harvest, complemented by fully 42% reserve wines—a blend of 198 wines from 11 different vintages dating back to 1996.