New Release- Krug 167

This Easter, Cinnamon and I enjoyed a real treat—the newest Krug "Grande Cuvée", which is the 167th edition of this iconic wine. I love the excitement that a Krug edition based on a famous vintage brings from our customers, but I think that in many ways, the Krug editions based on less famous vintages are even better, so I was very impatient to open this wine. The Krug "Grande Cuvée" 167 Ème Édition Brut Champagne is a blend of 13 different vintages, spanning 1995 to 2011. The Krug team dug deep into their reserves for this blend, using 42% reserve wines in the final blend, leaning on not only older Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also some of their prized old-vine Meunier. The final composition of the 167 is 47% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay and 17% Meunier. A total of 191 discreet wines were assembled to make this Champagne.

To pair with it, we took inspiration from the new “ingredient of the year” that Krug has selected: pepper. Years ago, Alex Brisoux, the former store manager of Redwood City introduced us to different kinds of fresh ground pepper on foie gras, and we have loved the combination ever since. We loaded our French pepper mills up with Tellicherry, Pink, and Szechuan pepper corns and went at it!

This 167th edition of Krug is my favorite out of the gate since the 163rd, and I think might end up being a legend like the 157th, known internally at Krug as the savoir-faire, based on another difficult vintage, the 2001. The use of a lot of reserve wines really shined through in this bottle, with hazelnut complexity, brioche like depth and beguiling savory fruit. The texture, as usual for Krug, is perfect after 7 years of ageing on the lees, and the bead is tight and precise. The best feature is how all of these elements are brought into focus by the incredible minerality of the wine… This is not heavy, vinous stuff, but rather elegant, nuanced Champagne.

The pairing was fantastic, and as usual, the fresh style of the Krug is a great foil for the richness of foie gras. While the fat of the foie brought out and carried the flavors of the peppers, the Krug seemed to both mirror the spice and cut the fat. It was a truly multi-dimensional combination that brought all three pieces to a higher level. My favorite of the peppers was the pink, which we bought from Penzeys. This pepper, originally from the French Reunion islands, is a close relative to the cashew and is now grown in Brazil. The high toned flavors of the spice brought out Pinot Noir depth in the Krug, and made me remember the few blessed times that I have tasted the Clos Ambonnay. Perhaps we have a little of that wine inside? I can’t wait to ask!

-Gary Westby

Gary Westby