Location: Rue Coquebert, Reims.
When was Krug founded? Krug was founded in 1843.
Who founded Krug? The Champagne House was founded by Joseph Krug. It was later sold to Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) in 1999, though is still managed today by Krug’s 6th generation, Olivier Krug.
Winemaking Designation: Négociant Manipulant
How many vineyards does Krug have?
Maison Krug sources the grapes for their wines from over 250 different cru plots in the Champagne region, totaling around 220 acres.
Where are the vineyards?
Krug owns 30% of the vineyards where their wines are grown. One of them is Clos du Mesnil, a 4.55-acre plot in the heart of Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne’s most recognized Chardonnay terroir. The House also gets its Pinot Noir from the walled Clos d’Ambonnay. It is a 1.68-acre plot on the Montagne de Reims’ slopes.
These vineyards are where their two single-vineyard vintages, Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs, come from. Their Pinot Meunier grows in other vineyards in Trépail. But they source the rest of the grapes from 100 long-term contract grape growers.
Growing Practices at Krug
Are they organic or biodynamic?
When it comes to selecting the plots from which to harvest the grapes, Maison Krug puts quality control and sustainability on top of their consideration.
Their vineyards are certified as sustainable and biodynamic. They are not (yet) certified organic, however, they use chemicals only if there’s a threat to the entire crop. In fact, the House has not been using herbicides for several years now. So, they are as close to organic as they can be.
However, they don’t see themselves seeking a certification, because, if any disease threatens their vineyards, they will keep using products to save their crop. But the House continues to be open-minded and interested in new ideas.
Krug has been exploring massale selections that may help to mitigate the effects of climate change. They’re looking at pruning procedures, where they must re-educate their workforce, and how to encourage deeper rooting. The House is also experimenting with biodiversity in one of its single vineyards.
As harvest approaches, the house is considering how they might be more careful in monitoring ripening across our plots, as getting the date right becomes increasingly crucial. They prefer not to correct the must after it’s pressed, so they have to pick whenever it’s suitable to do it.
In 2004, Krug was awarded ISO certification in environmental practices, energy management, and food safety management. It is the first LVMH Maison to earn the Positive Luxury title.
Any special growing techniques used?
One of the things that sets Krug apart from others is their two famous single-vineyard Champagnes. The Blanc de Blancs, for example, is produced from the Chardonnay they picked from the Clos du Mesnil vineyard, while the Blanc de Noirs comes from the Pinot Noir grown in the Clos d’Ambonnay vineyard.
Due to changes in climate, sun exposure, and other terroir-related factors, the House picks the fruits from each plot separately to guarantee the best quality possible. Krug puts importance on respecting each plot’s individuality.
Winemaking at Krug
Who is the winemaker?
In early 2020, Julie Cavil became Krug Champagne’s Chef de cave. She quietly took the place of the house’s long-time winemaker, Eric Lebel. Cavil is also the first female Chef de cave at Krug. Prior to becoming the cellar master, she was an assistant Chef de cave at Krug from 2006.
What types of wine making techniques do they use?
Taking from the Founder Joseph Krug’s dark cherry notebook, the concept is simple but makes sense. Each wine is treated uniquely, having its own distinct personality. The house vinifies one grape variety from a single plot using the same oak cask.
Krug is one of the few houses that carefully tirage and ferment in small, 205-liter oak casks plot by plot, for at least 20 years. And its Grand Cuvée sets the benchmark for non-vintage Champagnes, having an extensive collection of reserves to add to the blend, which is stored in large stainless steel tanks.
Their casks are old. The reason for this is not to introduce tannins but rather to let a gradual interaction between the must and the minimal quantity of oxygen let through those casks. Such a process enables the wine’s extended, slow maturity and also adds to its famed age-ability.
The grapes harvested from each cru are vinified individually into base wines without malolactic fermentation and two gravity racks. Krug doesn’t induce malolactic fermentation in the early phase, as they believe that it extends the wine’s lifespan. During vinification, the wines should start to mature and reveal their own flavors.
These wines will then be stored separately in small vats in a large library that has roughly 150 distinct reserves, with wines from 10 to 12 unique vintages. It’s up to the Chef de cave which wines from single plots could be used to boost that year’s production and which ones will be the reserves.
In addition to the reserves, Krug produces 250 wines of the year, with a total of 400 wines for use for the final blend of a new Champagne every year. Each champagne serves as a representation of an individual plot.
Combining wines from many vintages helps the cellar master to produce an outstanding depth of flavor in their Champagnes. Upon tasting, the Chef de cave may sometimes find an exquisite and fruity wine. Other times, they will taste one that is more structured. But if they sample an overripe wine, Krug will reject it.
The introduction of the Krug iD makes it even possible to know what goes into their wines. Krug iD is a 6-digit identification code on the back label of Krug bottles. It gives drinkers access to information about the blend and the vintage’s characteristics and suggests food to go with the wine.
The Wines at Krug
Krug offers 5 different Champagne varieties. Their non-vintage varieties are made from a combination of three grapes, while their vintage ones are 100% made of either Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
Krug Grande Cuvée – Made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier; percentage varies per year. This wine is a blend of 150 to 200 different wines, from 10 to 15 different vintages. It’s aged for at least years and is available in 16 editions.
Krug Clos du Mesnil – Made from 100% Chardonnay. It’s aged for a minimum of 10 years on the lees and comes in 8 vintages.
Krug Clos d’Ambonnay – Made from 100% Pinot Noir. This wine is aged for 14 years on the lees and comes in 5 vintages.
Krug Brut Rosé – Skin-fermented Pinot Noir gives it a lovely blush. It’s a unique blend that comprises 4 to 6 different vintages, and three grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier), with the complexity of the Krug style. This sparkling wine is available in 9 editions.
Krug Vintage – This bottling is a blend of wines from a single year. The blend is aged in the cellars for additional 10 years to produce its richest flavor. It is available in 10 different vintages.
Krug no longer offers private tours to the general public.