1964 Krug Private Cuvée & 1979 Collection


My experience with mature vintage Champagne is not as extensive as others’, although I have enjoyed more than my fair share. Many of my most memorable bottles have come courtesy of Krug. Last December, I joined a group of oenophiles for a Petrus tasting that I incorporated into an article . This being Hong Kong, the vertical was preceded by two bottles of Krug, one of which stands as one of the best bottles that I have ever encountered from this famous grande marque. 

The 1964 Krug Private Cuvée, which was renamed Grande Cuvée from 1978, is still vibrant and engaging on the nose, with scents of lemon rind and baked bread, followed by a light metallic note akin to antique cutlery rather than stainless steel. It has wonderful definition and potency. The palate is a different story. Surprisingly malic on the entry, it is dominated by a sharp – verging on shrill – bead of acidity that I feel compromises the finish. That’s a pity as the entry is irresistible with its subtle hazelnut and loamy tones. Don’t get me wrong - I loved this Krug and it deserves applause since it showed little sign of age and yet...curiously, it left me wanting more. 93/Drink 2020-2032. 

The 1979 Krug Collection was poured from magnum and unlike the 1964 Private Cuvée, this magnificent Champagne bowled me over. Almost clinical in terms of its delineation on the nose, it exudes spellbinding mineralité, hints of wet limestone, glimpses of brioche, almond and white chalk, all delivered with thrilling energy. The palate is exquisitely balanced with a fine line of acidity that makes this Krug feel so effortless. Harmonious from the start, with traces of blood orange and quince that decorate a finish that fans out gloriously. Utter class. The 1979 Collection encapsulates everything there is to love about Champagne. Certainly in this format I can see it giving another three of four decades of drinking pleasure. 98/Drink 2020-2045.