Today I go out on a limb and embrace extremity. In my 25+ year love affair with Krug, I've never encountered an example quite like this.
And truthfully, I feel better for embracing it. I've said this before, but I should repeat it in this context: I love all things Krug. And the 2003, despite all its uniqueness, is resoundingly Krug.
Among collectors, wine geeks, etc., Krug represents one of the pinnacles of not only Champagne, but wine in general. Krug can simply be profound in its depth of complexity and finesse.
The 2003 vintage throughout Europe was unprecedented. In Champagne, the extremes were even greater: on one end, there were spring frosts that reduced the crop by an incredible 50%. On the other, was the infamous, record-setting heat. This all adds up to 2003 being an utterly singular vintage in Champagne lore.
That's the sweeping general part of the story. More specifically, and more importantly, is that out of these extremes Krug produced this fascinating, once-in-a-lifetime Champagne.
I opened a bottle last night for the staff. It's been some time since a bottle has generated so much discussion. As you'd expect, the 2003 is a powerful, enveloping Champagne. It also boasts a resonant depth and nuanced complexity that kept us returning to our glass.
Almost any discussion of Krug has to include the art of blending. It's this skill along with the corresponding array of superlative quality grapes to choose from that play an important role in Krug's success. It's impossible not to sense that these finely-honed expert blending skills paid huge dividends in 2003.
The Krug 2003 really impresses with its unique harmony. This is a wine structured not so much around its acid backbone as much as it's structured around its power and generosity. There's an absolutely gorgeous and complex weave to the wine. It boasts a rich mellowness, luscious spice with tones of butterscotch, hazelnuts and the like.
It's this power that makes Krug 2003 one of the most pleasurable young vintages that we've tasted. Its drinking window will be long and wide open. For me, 2003 firmly establishes Krug's mastery. They took a curveball vintage, swung for the fences, and hit it out of the ballpark. They created something that is a singular and fascinating expression of Krug's house style. I hope all of our Champagne loyalists try this impressive effort.
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