Thursday, August 07, 2008

Visiting Krug - in the cellars.

So with eyes like pissholes in the snow, I woke up a silly o clock in the morning, showered and made it down for a lovely breakfast in the morning. The sun was shining, the gardener was out raking the gardens and clearing up the corks we had fired off the balcony the previous night. Mine was the winner, out on the grass, while mark managed to hit the patio and penny barely made if further than the end of the balcony sill. After indulging on fresh croissants and pastries we were met at the front by our genial chauffer and whisked off to the maison. The Krug domaine is rather discretely placed off the main roads behind a set of imposing black gates. As we entered the courtyard the place was filled with oak barrels being washed down and soaked with water, preparing them for impending use.

We were told how the Maison came into being, the history of the family and their philosophy for champagne before being taken down into the cellars to see for ourselves.

We were in heaven, millions of bottles of Krug all stacked up where they wait patiently for six years to reach a level of maturity that Krug feels is essential to its being. We get the full tour of the cellars, walking past racks of bottles, the chalk boards written in a code identifying which wines they are. I keep my eyes peeled for the Clos d'Ambonnay, but fail to spot any, or its sister vineyard Clos de Mesnil. We did however find magnums of vintage 98 and even a few jeros. As we descend deeper beneath Riems we come to the vault holding the reserve wines. Specially designed double decker steel tanks hold the reserve wines going back to a 1996 Bouzy which we are told was the oldest wine blended in this years "batch" of Grande Cuvee. In six years time when the wine reaches the market, that component will be 20 years old! We struggle to get our heads round the idea that someone can select a blend of so many different vintage wines and somehow seem to know how it will turn out after six years of maturation. And while the main selection of the blend is done by a core team, that many other people at Krug are involved on the periphery.

While in the cellars we get the chance to watch their cellarmaster riddling the bottles, and Mark takes the opportunity to have a go himself.

As the cellar tour ended we wandered upstairs for a spot of elevenses - a cheeky wee (wee being the operative word) glass of Grande Cuvee before we departed for a tour of the vineyards, more specifically the vineyard of Clos de Mesnil.

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