It's hard to imagine how a wine of this power can sustain perfect balance. What is now a more nonchalant intensity in the aroma was, in fact, too much to handle when we tasted this last year, as if the wine had no time for mere humans with their limited sense receptors. If you stop to taste ripe pear, ginger spice, apple blossom and butterscotch the wine leaves you lost in random flavor descriptors as it soars off into a vinous glow that lasts for minutes. This may well be the greatest vintage wine of Henri Krug's career (unless it is challenged by the 2002). It is impossible to predict how long this wine will thrive in bottle, though considering the current fine condition of the 1959 Krug, the first 50 years are a given.
Light gold. Remarkably perfumed nose projects an exotic bouquet of deep, leesy yellow fruit, minerals, honeycomb, smoked meat and flowers, with Asian spices building expanding in the glass. Almost painfully concentrated, offering a surreal parade of orchard and pit fruits, smoked meat, toasted brioche and marrow braced by intensely salty, stunningly incisive minerality. Imagine a Frankenstein's monster of Chablis Le Clos and Clos Ste. Hune-but one with perfect balance, of course-and you get an idea of what I found in my bottle. The energetic, stony character builds exponentially on the finish, which didn't seem to, well, finish. The best analogy I can come up with for the intensity, focus and clarity of this Champagne is liquefied barbed wire. Utterly hallucinatory and one of the most amazing wines I've ever been fortunate enough to drink. At the risk of sounding completely out of touch with reality, this is a value. (JR)
*Collectibles and #10 on Top 100 Wines of 2007* A powerful, majestic Champagne. Deep and compelling, with aromas of whole-grain toast, coconut and dried citrus that draw you in. Lean and racy on the palate, with a creaminess that's yet to be integrated. A classic '96, with ripe, exotic aromas and a steely structure. Still a baby, with the long, resonant finish confirming its potential. Best from 2009 through 2040. (BS)
The 1996 Vintage is magnificent. A towering, explosive Champagne, the 1996 delivers the house’s signature breadth in a full-bodied, structured Champagne with enough pure density and acidity to age well for decades. Warm nutty and spiced overtones add nuance on the finish. The 1996 is just beginning to enter the early part of its mature stage, where it is sure to remain for several decades. Krug's Vintage is one of the truly epic wines of the year. (AG)
The 1996 vintage of Krug is a stunning and very young example of the year, and the wine really needs at least another six to eight years in the cellar to fully blossom and start to show all of its potential. The bouquet is deep, complex and youthfully tight, as it offers up a very, very promising nose of apple, lemon, stony minerality, a touch of orange, caraway seed, citrus peel and rye toast. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very, very pure, with a rock solid core of fruit, a soil-driven personality, the broad shoulders of a vintage Krug from a ripe year, elegant mousse, and brilliant length and grip on the focused and quite youthful finish. This will be a great vintage of Krug in the fullness of time. (Drink between 2016-2050)
It has been a while since we met, but the Krug 1996 is unequivocally a brilliant slice of champagne – the nose cut from some slab of limestone that must of plummeted into the Champagne countryside from outer space. The palate is rapier like acidity, life-affirming mineralite and a focus and freshness that is nothing less than thrilling. Krug is one of life’s great pleasures and this is one of their finest vintages. Tasted November 2012. (NM-Wine Journal)
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