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!