House Spotlight: Krug
The House of Krug has always strived to exceed consumers’ expectations and six generations of the family have exceeding themselves when it comes to producing a unique tasting, quality product. Over 170 years ago Krug’s founder, Johann-Joseph Krug, a maverick with the vision and talent to create a champagne with a taste quite unlike any other, began to hone these talents to perfection. The quality was evident in all the wines they have produced, and as a result the House was established as a grande marque. By the 1880s the prestige of Krug was acknowledged in the United Kingdom, then the primary overseas market for Champagne.
Krug has never strayed from holding that reputation and are the only Champagne house specialising exclusively in the production of cuvées de prestige, meaning top-of-the-range proprietary blended Champagnes, read on to discover more about Krug Champagne.
Founder, Joseph Krug was born in 1800 in the German town of Mainz, part of France’s Napoleonic empire at the time. After being exposed to wine making throughout his young life and with the help of Hippolyte de Vivès, a highly regarded wine merchant in Reims, the house of Krug was founded in 1873. Determined to create the most generous expression of Champagne every single year, he drew upon his vast library of reserve wines to compose his prestige Champagne. In this way, whatever the weather, whatever the harvest, Joseph would always be able to create a Champagne abundant in nuances and of unequalled generosity.
The Krug family has always orchestrated the blending of its Champagnes. It is this longstanding tradition that has allowed the living memory of wine years and tastes to remain vibrant.
Champagnes of the House
The house’s flagship champagne is the Krug Grande Cuvée; when you taste it, notes of toasted bread, hazelnut, nougat, barley sugar and jellied fruits will take you by surprise. You may even taste hints of apples still on the tree, flowers in bloom, ripe and dried fruit, almonds, marzipan, gingerbread, sweet spices and even brioche and honey. The House exudes an ideology that individuality means distinction, uniqueness, originality and singularity. This ideology gives each bottle its own personality and we think this is owed to the exceptional individual attention that the Chef de Caves gives Krug Grande Cuvée.
Krug 1989 is the result of a contrasting year ending with a very warm summer which gave mature, expressive, long lasting, complete and silky wines. To express the character of this year, the House of Krug blended 25 growths, well-structured and persistent Pinot Noirs (47%), rich Chardonnays (29%) and sparkling fresh Meunier (24%). A very limited number of bottles of Krug 1989 were kept in idea conditions in Krug’s cellars. These bottles were tasted and appraised as they waited to blossom into second life. Krug Collection 1989 is now at this stage. The Krug Collection 1989 is a true example of time sublimation; maturity reveals more facets and depth, new flavours surprise while old ones have gained structure.
Since summer 2011, all bottles of Krug Champagne feature a KRUG ID located on the left-hand side of the back label. This six-digit number – with the first digit indicating the quarter in which the bottle left Krug’s cellars and the following two digits indicating the year – serves as a reference for wine collectors and a portal to further information about that particular bottle.The legacy of Joseph Krug lives on. It is a passion and a unique savoir-faire that have been handed down in a direct line from Joseph Krug to his son Paul, then Joseph II, Paul II, then his sons Henri and Rémi. Today, Henri’s son Olivier Krug represents the sixth generation.
We highly recommend that you visit the Champagne Krug website for a virtual tour of the House. This is no regular post of a few simple photographs of the premises, Krug takes you on a sensory rollercoaster that you can fully immerse yourself in. The descriptive language flows as well as vintage bottle and makes you feel as if you are right there in the cellar, “150 wines from 12 different years wait their turn to enrich the sensory carnival of some upcoming edition of Krug Grande Cuvee or perhaps Krug Rosé.”
From the meticulous, individual selection of each plot of vine to the art of blending and the creation of Champagnes by Krug’s Chef de Caves, it is this attention and devotion that makes each bottle of Krug so precious. This is why we recommend you take just a few moments longer when you appreciate a fine glass of this house’s collection, which is steeped in such rich history.
House Spotlight: Lanson
House Lanson is steeped in rich history that dates back through the ages into 18th century northern France and the capital of Champagne, Reims. The winemakers behind this prominent label have, over the centuries honed and defined their talents to create the signature taste of Lanson champagne. Champagne Lanson’s chef du cave, Jean Paul Gandon, has been chief winemaker for over 40 years, blending every single one of the champagnes bearing the Lanson name. Lanson has been a key sponsor of The Wimbledon Tennis Championships for over 25 years and an official supplier since 2001, Champagne Lanson was also recently appointed as The Official Champagne Supplier to The Championships for the next 5 years.
Champagne Lanson was founded by a French magistrate François Delamotte in 1760 and straight from the outset, the core principles of the House were set to encourage young talent and focus on the European market and its Royal and Imperial courts. In 1900, Queen Victoria awarded a Royal Warrant to Maison Landon Pére et Fils, making it an official supplier to the Court of England. This honour has been held by Champagne Lanson ever since and they remain a purveyor of champagne to the Royal Family, displaying the coat of arms of Elizabeth II on the bottles.
In 1937, anticipating modern marketing techniques, Victor Lanson re-named the House’s non-vintage champagne ‘Black Label’. Lanson has always been in good company throughout history, in 1961, the Lanson 1952 Vintage was served at the table of United States President John F. Kennedy and his wife during a dinner at Château de Versailles and the Queen Mother celebrated her one-hundredth birthday with a glass of Lanson in August, 2000. In 2010 Champagne Lanson celebrated their 250th birthday with a special Extra Age Lanson that is made from only the finest vintages.
Champagnes of the House
The flagship champagne of the House is Lanson Black Label. A universally loved, light non-vintage brut that completely embodies the refined characteristics of the Lanson house style.
On the nose Black Label is quite fresh and citrusy, the taste is crisp, vibrant and energetic, and an ideal start for a dinner as an aperitif. Lanson House is passionate about heritage and upholding tradition and to maintain the original taste, has always used the same house style of ageing. They avoid malolactic fermentation enabling the fresh, fruity aromas to develop gracefully and giving it an outstanding ageing capability. Excluding the malolactic process ensures mouth-watering flavours and an exceptional purity of fruit. The wines are then carefully blended to ensure a consistent taste and style. Black Label has to be aged for at least three years before going on general sale, but most are left in the cellars for over half a decade.
The President of Lanson house Philippe Baijot, describes Black Label as ‘life’
“Every time I drink it I feel happy, it’s a special moment, a moment I want to share with someone, it is life and a unique celebration.”
Lanson Rose Label has become the UK’s favourite rosé champagne and, has become one of the most recognisable rose bottles in the world. Champagne Lanson has pioneered the rose style since the 1960s . The famous, unique Rosé is made mostly from the Pinot Noir grape, with a crisp, clean taste that exudes delicacy and purity. With delicate notes of roses and red berries, Lanson Rose Label is the perfect start to any occasion.
Lanson House – Today
Wherever you are in the world chances are a bottle of Lanson is never more than a stones throw away and for the last 35 years the wine making has been under the watchful eyes of Jean Paul Gandon, it is his nose that has ensured Lanson maintained it’s continues success. In May of this year, Champagne Lanson announced it has a new head winemaker, Hervé Dantan.
Dantan joined Lanson in 2013 and worked under Gandon, following a number of years of working in many wine regions around France and California.
He takes over from Gandon who has been chef de cave since 1986 and Lanson house have described him as a guarantor of a unique style, which is important for Lanson as a winemaker has a definitive role in a Champagne House. Dantan has the privilege to elaborate the Lanson wines by using new, remarkable tools such as a new winery that was inaugurated on the occasion of the 2014 harvest.