The King of Champagnes…
Compared to Krug’s 160th edition, the bright golden-yellow colored NV Grande Cuvée 166ème Édition (ID117010) is still a baby that shows the chalky and fruity features of a young white Burgundy intermixed with notes of Schwarzwälder Kirsch (dark cherries with black chocolate) and floral (ammonia) flavors on the pure, fresh and elegant yet intense and still yeasty brioche nose with its ripe apple aromas and refreshingly bright (lemon juice) overtones. Round, wide and very elegant yet also straight and tense on the palate, this 2010-dominated cuvée is very delicate, fresh and chalky but also dense and lush in its vinous texture. The finish is well-structured, fresh and persistent, indicating great complexity and vibrancy. However, I would wait at least another three years, during which time the 166th edition will gain even more finesse and quiet. The 166ème Édition is composed of 140 wines from 13 different harvests between 1998 and 2010, and it’s a blend of 45% Pinot Noir with 39% Chardonnay and 16% Pinot Meunier, the latter of which provides the vivacity that the Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs surprisingly didn’t have in 2010, a vintage that was marked by its “tumultuous climate,” as Eric Lebel writes. Tasted in New York in November 2018.
Wine Advocate report 2018:
At the beginning of November 2018 I met Olivier Krug early on a Friday morning (even before breakfast) in New York’s beautiful Simon & The Whale hotel. If you get the chance to have some Krug cuvées, you will not miss your breakfast too, I suppose. Olivier insisted on naming the 166th edition of the Krug Grande Cuvée as “166ème Édition” and not as “Number 166” or just “Krug 166.” Olivier said that “the cuvée represents the history of Krug and is the result of blending potentially 250 base wines from a time span of 20 or 25 years.” He also doesn’t like to speak of the 2004 as a vintage Champagne or of the two Clos as single-vineyard wines. “Single-vineyard wines are not our objective, nor are vintage Champagnes,” he explains. “We produce Krug, and only the repeated blind tastings of all our 250 or so base wines by five to seven tasters decides which cuvées we are going to produce. If the vintage doesn’t reflect the soul of the vintage, we will not produce it. If we don’t detect the extraordinary quality and singularity of the one or the other Clos, we will not produce it. The two Clos exist because of Krug. There wouldn’t be any Clos without Krug,” Olivier added, underlining that there is no hierarchy in the Krug offerings. The tastings of the 2004 vins clairs, however, crystallized the 2004 Brut because it represents the “luminous freshness” of the vintage, as Olivier describes it. Our morning tasting started with the still very young and uneasy or somewhat restless Krug Grande Cuvée 166ème Édition, which was followed by the 2004 Krug. In turn, the 20014 Krug was followed by the outstanding Grande Cuvée 160ème Édition, which is predominantly based on the 2004 harvest and shows the complexity of the cuvée combined with the purity and freshness of the 2004 vintage. Krug fans should download the Krug App, as it includes detailed information about the cuvée, the vintage and the blending partners that can be found by entering the ID code. The first three digits of the ID code represent the date of disgorgement, so that ID316 translates to the third quarter of 2016.