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. Notes of fresh pear, candied lemon, ripe fruit, honey, gingerbread, and mocha can be detected.
Krug Vintage is designed to blend vintage character with Krug's house style. Krug selects young fermented wines which best represent the character of the particular year. The three grape varieties are blended to create harmony: Chardonnay's elegance, Pinot noir's fullness and the fruit of carefully selected Pinot meunier grapes bring finesse and complexity to the wine. 1996 was also a landmark in the long history of the House of Krug, since Krug 1996 was the last vintage to be blended by three generations of the Krug family–Paul Krug, Henri and Rémi Krug, and Olivier Krug–all working together. Olivier Krug, Directeur de la Maison Krug, clearly remembers his grandfather's reaction when he first tasted the year's newly fermented wines. "Throughout his life, my grandfather shunned exaggeration of any kind," he says, "but on this occasion he looked at us and said: 'I think this may well be the next 1928'. Eleven years on, Krug 1996 is certainly a Krug to the power of Krug. Time will tell if it is indeed a legend in the making."
"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."
International Wine Cellar