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Professional Ratings: 100 Wine & Spirits, 99 Wine Spectator, 99 International Wine Cellar, 98 The Wine Advocate
Region: Champagne, France
Varietal: Vintage Sparkling Wine
Other Info: Great Wine Gift, Collectible Wines
Item no. 91190
Krug 1996 is extraordinary indeed – an extreme, eccentric champagne that first caresses the senses with its rich aromas, firm texture and full, ripe flavours, then dramatically explodes into jubilant freshness. Rich, radiant gold illuminated by slender streams of bubbles, Krug 1996 already promises a masterful combination of maturity and acidity as its aromas tease the nose with the tartness of fresh pear and candied lemon, the roundness of ripe fruit and nougatine. Then, even as the taste buds are revelling in the smooth, mellow flavors of honey, gingerbread and mocha, this astounding champagne unleashes its exuberant crescendo of freshness that is at once totally unexpected and utterly Krug.
It's hard to imagine how a wine of this power can sustain perfect balance What is now a more nonchalant intensity in the aromas 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 2002). It is impossible to predict how long this wine will thrive in the bottle, though considering the current fine conditon of the 1959 Krug, the first 50 years are a given.
Number 10 on Wine Spectator's Top 100 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.
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.
The 1996 Krug Vintage is explosive on the palate, as layers of aromas and flavors meld together in a stunning display of elegance and power. This pure, sensual beauty is utterly rapturous. The relatively generous style of this wine makes it hard to resist today, but it will age for decades. This is a brilliant wine in every way.