Paul’s excellent krug adventure

A group of lucky souls gathered last night at pied a terre to investigate whether 88 krug was living up to its potential after some recent variable experiences. Sadly, I left my notes in the taxi, so this is from memory.

First flight of 03 and 88 clos de mesnil with the 2000 ambonnay. The 03 was surprisingly fresh and without most, if not all, of the heaviness that has put me off the vintage. Great nose of iodine and cold, rolled steel. A very good effort. The 88 was surprising in the opposite direction - quite advanced, with too much bruised apple and general oxidative notes on the nose and palate. The ambonnay was fabulous. Ethereal, delicate and powerful all at the same time - classic power without weight. Like the most delicious strawberry, meringue, cream and powdered sugar imagineable. Aphrodite to the 88 mag’s Zeus!

Next flight was four bottles of original release 88 from four different cellars. All stored in pristine conditions since release. For some reason, my glass of bottle 1 was very muted. Others liked it much better. The 2nd bottle was quite advanced and similar to the 88 clos mesnil. 3 and 4 were both excellent and what you would expect given the wine’s reputation although wth a marked difference in colour between them.

We then had the mag of 88. As noted above, this was an incredible showing. Exactly what you would dream a mag of 88 krug would be. Pale yellow colour still. Incredibly fresh and piercing on the nose and palate. Tons kept in reserve and would easily have gone another 20 years before hitting its peak. I was thrilled by how it showed and saddened that it was my only one!

A pair of 81 and 82 krugs followed. The 82 was a very positive surprise to everyone at the table whereas the 81 was consistent with other showings for bottles from this source ie superb! More developed than the 82 but with greater depth and power.

To cap things off, we opened 2 bottles of private reserve from the early 60s. One was very advanced with no mousse to speak of, the other just incredibly young given its age. A rare privilege to try these bottles.

We all agreed, yet again, that size matters in champagne and that our next get together would be an exclusively magnum affair!

too bad about that 88 Mesnil. Fresh bottles are soooooooooooodamngood

Wow, awesome flight of Krug’s. (or whatever the plural of Krug is)


Sounds like a fun night Dan. I suspect as always provenance is key. I’ve had great luck with the 88’s. Love the Mesnil and good bottles of 88 vintage are fantastic. I’ve experienced more variability with the vintage 1988 750’s than with mags, but hard to say if that’s the format or something else. And agree that the 00 Ambonnay is a total stud - I still vividly remember the first bottle I tasted.


I forgot that we also had two aged bottles of krug rose and 2 late release (2015) bottles of the 88. I tend to struggle with the krug rose and these were no different, despite their age - too austere for my taste. The 2 late release 88s continued the theme of variability. One was pristine, young and superb, the other noticeably more developed although still excellent.

Brad - re your point on provenance, all these bottles were from seriously good cellars. Storage was definitely not a differentiating factor.

Excellent. I have a friend that says that Champagne should always be purchased in magnums. It is the best aging vessel.

Fascinating event, thanks for sharing the info. So curious about the bottle variation.

I’m glad the ‘82 showed well. One I enjoyed maybe 5 years ago was one of those ‘moment’ wines revealing to me the aging amazingness of champagne.

Now I just wonder if I can hold off on opening my ‘96s for another decade.