A distinctive nose with honey, toast and cashew leads to a palate that's just as powerful and pronounced, with an exotic, dry, umami richness comprising dried crystalline fruits, peach, biscuit and cream, and a touch of well-executed oak. Good acidity and terrific length. (JS)
The NV Grande Cuvée 165ème Édition is showing well, offering up a lovely bouquet of warm bread, honeycomb, peachy fruit, smoke and lemon oil. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, layered and beautifully integrated, with excellent depth at the core, a fine mousse and a long, chalky finish. Built around the 2009 vintage, the 165ème isn't as powerful or fleshy as the 167ème Édition, but if anything, it's even classier and more harmonious at this stage. (WK)
I imagine the MV Grande Cuvée 165ème will go down as one of the most profound and also perplexing Champagnes in Krug's history. The wine itself, based on the 2009 vintage, is positively stellar. Sensual and powerful, yet with terrific freshness for the year, the 165 is a total knock out. Bright citrus, floral smoke and mineral notes add freshness, tension and energy throughout. It is hard to believe today, but in 2008/2009 Krug went through a very challenging period. Because of the economic crisis, Krug bottled very little Champagne in what will surely be seen as a very shortsighted business decision, if it isn’t already. Production of the 165 is about 1/12th of normal, or the equivalent of one month’s supply, and Krug did not bottle any vintage Champagne. Consequently, the 165 was shipped to just 4-5 markets, including the Unites States, UK and France. Most countries will never see the 165. Readers who have a chance to buy it should not hesitate, as it is likely to become a collector’s item, along with the 2008. Once again, I am reminded of the many conversations I had at Krug about ten years ago. “No one cares about the base vintage in the Grande Cuvée,” numerous people there told me. That’s when I stopped reviewing the Grande Cuvée. How ironic it is that several recent releases have become precisely so coveted because of the base vintage. It is always a mistake to underestimate the consumer. (AG)
Vivid acidity drives this richly expressive Champagne, while wild cherry, blood orange sorbet, lime blossom, spun honey and spice notes play on the fine, satinlike mousse. It’s tightly-knit and racy, with the lasting finish echoing the expansive flavor range. Disgorged fall 2016. (AN)
Krug long held the specific details of Grande Cuvée under wraps, and now has released it all, under a new program that effectively dates each release so buyers can check out its makeup online, down to the specific disgorgement. The site notes that this wine is based on the 2009 vintage, from individual parcels fermented in neutral oak vats, the final blend including 127 different wines from 12 years, back to 1990, the reserves held in small stainless-steel vats to sustain their freshness. The new information helps tie the character of the wine to a particular vintage, even as the goal of Eric Lebel and the blending team is to create a wine of symphonic complexity around that base material, a variation on the style of Grande Cuvée. In that sense, it’s interesting to compare this 165th edition with the 166th, based on the 2010 vintage (and reviewed below). 165 is a powerful, vinous Champagne, a straight line of supple flavor focused on notes of lemon peel, salty pear and yellow flowers. It’s almost tannic in its youthful structure and hints of celery-seed spice. This is suited to long aging.
Very pale with a heady nose and some richness. Firm and flirtatious with a really solid, ripe undertow. More hedonistic than many Krugs. 18.5/20 points. (JR)
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