For 15 years, Champagne Krug has kept a secret. During that time, brothers Rémi and Henri Krug, the former managing director and winemaker, respectively, and Henri's son, Olivier Krug, the current managing director, dreamed about, developed, vinified and aged a new single-vineyard Champagne. The new wine, Clos d'Ambonnay 1995, has one of the highest-ever price tags of a newly released wine, currently estimated at $3,000 to $3,300 per bottle.
The Clos d'Ambonnay is a blanc de noirs made entirely from Pinot Noir. Ambonnay is a village in the Montagne de Reims, rated grand cru, where the southeast exposure tends to yield richer, fuller wines. The new wine was inspired by Krug's single-vineyard Clos du Mesnil wine, which comes from a tiny 11.5-acre parcel in the Côte de Blancs, which Krug purchased in 1971. The Clos du Mesnil wine was started by Rémi and Henri Krug, and was, until now, the house's most expensive cuvée. The 1996 Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Clos du Mesnil (96 points on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale) was released this year at a price of $800 per bottle.
"The idea arose a few years after the revelation of Krug Clos du Mesnil, when both Henri and Rémi had in mind to find a second jewel vineyard," said Olivier Krug. "That jewel was owned by one of our suppliers in Ambonnay, which had always been one of our darling villages." In 1994, after working in the vineyard for a few years and some trial fermentations in small oak barrels (a technique Krug is known for), the company made an offer to purchase the vineyard.
The 1995 is the first vintage of the wine to be released. Krug's parent company, luxury goods giant LVMH, held a prerelease in early October for friends of the house, but Krug fans in the United States will have to wait until spring 2008 for the official release. Compounding the difficulty of acquiring a bottle is that only 250 cases were made.
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