We have continued our series of savoir faire visits by discovering a new luxury sector – wines and spirits. This time, the visit was in Reims, a wonderful city in the Champagne-Ardenne region, where all of the amazing champagnes are born. We had the opportunity to visit the world-renowned Maison Krug, where we have learnt the secrets of making sparkling dreams come true.
Our visit in Reims started with a wonderful lunch at Brasserie Le Boulingrin, where we enjoyed a very delicious and traditional three-course meal. A perfect start for a perfect day. After lunch, we walked on the streets of Reims until we reached Maison Krug, where three lovely gentlemen greeted us with smiles and, of course, champagne. We were welcomed into the waiting saloon, where we enjoyed a glass of Krug Grand Cuvée 167th and admired the newly renovated building. We were extremely impressed by the architecture and interior design of the maison, which perfectly reflects the essence of the Krug champagne: savoir faire, pleasure and luxury. We found out that up until 2015, the building was the residence of the Krug family itself, and, after two years of renovations, the maison reopened its doors to champagne lovers.
Joseph Krug believed that the essence of champagne is pleasure, and he founded a maison in which all the champagnes are of the same level of excellence. Mylène showed us Joseph Krug’s notebook that was displayed in the saloon. This notebook contains his notes on his dream: how a champagne should be and his philosophy for Maison Krug.
In principle, a good Maison should only make two cuvées from blends of similar composition: Cuvée N ° 1: this composition should be recreated each year. If the wines are full-bodied, then lighter wines from previous years must be used ... And vice versa if the wines are too light, like those of 1848. Cuvée N ° 2: […] As for cuvée N ° 1 and depending on the circumstances.
JOSEPH KRUG, Founder, Maison Krug
This philosophy is the basis of everything that the house stands for and what saved it from the dark times of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Mylène told us that during the crisis, its CEO, Margareth Henriquez had the brilliant idea of going through the maison’s archives to find the answer. It was the return to its brand DNA and the founder’s philosophy that gave the maison a new communication strategy, one that is close to its heritage and roots, one that now focuses on two pillars: pairing champagne with music and gastronomy.
We have learned many things about how the maison makes its champagnes. Krug Champagne is made from grapes harvested from vineyards located in different regions. Quality control and sustainability are the most important aspects when choosing the plots from which they harvest the grapes. Maison Krug’s vineyards are certified as sustainable and biodynamic, and they will soon be certified as organic. Moreover, in order to ensure the highest level of quality, Maison Krug harvests each plot individually, because of differences in climate, sun exposure and other terroir-related differences.
This philosophy of respecting the individuality of each plot is unique in the world of champagne producers, and it is one way through which Maison Krug stands out from its competitors.
Mylène’s gift for storytelling made us even more curious to learn about the universe of Krug, and even more thirsty for trying their outstanding champagnes.
After an exciting introduction of Krug’s story, we proceeded down to the house cellar. We were immediately greeted by rows and rows of champagnes in racks, who were quietly resting. The champagnes will be sleeping for around 7 years to fully reveal and express its flavours and aromas as a Krug Grand Cuvée.
We took a turn and saw huge stainless-steel tanks in rows, safeguarded behind locked gates. These tanks are storing the very valuable of Maison Krug’s reserve wines, with each wine representing and expressing the personality of one very specific plot. We were truly amazed to learn that six generations of Maison Krug have contributed to the collection of 150 different reserve wines. All Krug Grand Cuvee is masterfully blended with over 120 wines from 10 or more different vintages and the Krug Cellar Master relies heavily on these reserve wines to achieve the vision and expression of Krug Champagne every year.
The Wall of 400 Wines Tasting RoomThe visit continued with students welcomed by Krug’s CEO, Maggie Henríquez, in the beautifully designed tasting room. The room has a wall of 400 wines consisting of Krug's 250 wines of the year and 150 reserve wines. Maggie graciously shared with us her experiences, vision of the house and emphasized the need for every luxury brand to find its roots and be innovative in order to move forward fast. We also have the opportunity to taste both Krug Vintage 2006 and Krug Grand Cuvée 162th edition. Although both champagnes were made and consist of grapes from 2006, they have completely different elegance and character, again showcasing the savoir faire of the house. Every bottle of Krug Champagne is also masterfully paired with music that matches the individuality of the champagne. We thoroughly enjoyed sipping and listening to masterpieces through “Devialet” – the French made high-end speaker!