Celebrations and champagne, two things that are always in demand in a country like India where festivities and weddings are just around the corner. This week, one of the region’s top Champagne houses, Krug makes a comeback with it’s exceptional, flavourful blends and we couldn’t be more delighted. The cult favourite Krug Grand Cuvée from Moet Hennessy India is here with its smooth, complex and opulent notes showcasing Krug’s philosophy of excellence and exquisite craftsmanship. The maison put together an interesting and rich blend of around 120 wines from over ten different vintages and three grape varieties to create the most generous champagne in the world.
At the Krug launch where we went to taste the bubbly over a curated 11-course dinner at Masque, Mumbai, we experienced the unique flavour and subtle aromas and a beautiful smoothness to the Grand Cuvée. The fact that every glass of a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee is the fruit of more than 20 years of patience and crafting is an understatement. The flavours were incredibly effortless and there is a certain lightness to it. The flavours come from notes of toasted bread, hazelnut, nougat, honey, barley sugar and jellied fruits – they give out a rather effortless feel to the champagne. The other flavours like lemon and grapefruit add freshness with their rich, tangy notes add that innate freshness in a subtle but elevated manner. One of the more accessible and effortless champagnes in the making, it’s essential to note that Krug Grande Cuvée can age beautifully.
We were very interested in the way Krug Grande Cuvée lends itself to culinary choices and not only is it easier on the palette but fuses beautifully with every kind of cuisine. Every year, according to the vision of its founder Joseph Krug, the Grand marquee champagne House honors its reputed champagne by paying tribute to a single ingredient – one that will compliment and highlight the flavours and aromas of the bubbly by creating and crafting a flamboyant menu to accompany it. And this year, this profound and bold ingredient is the humble pepper – one that India is familiar with. And this week, at Mumbai’s most renowned restaurant Masque, we see a set menu created exclusively for the event by chef Prateek Sadhu hero-ing this interesting ingredient which when paired with Krug Grande Cuvée is ready to unleash exquisite symphonies.
From Bhavnagri Peppers served with corn and lime to Smoked Aldona Chilli with Bacon Gujiya – it was an explosion of flavours in the mouth. We were especially thrilled with the combination of Kashmiri Katlam bread served with pickled pepper butter – that went so beautifully with the bubbly, a bit sour and packed with a punch. The braised lamb set with fermented Bhut Jolakia was a definite winner and so were the Pork ribs served with crispy skin and Boria pepper. The flavours were intense and the smoothness of the champagne created a whirlwind of emotions when paired together. The desserts were never too sweet and that tartness that came with them enveloped the mouth with freshness – take for example the Aji Pepper with Rhubarb and Kahwah or the Pandi Pepper reserved on a bed of roasted pineapple drizzled with honey – everything veered on the sweet side paired beautifully with a punchy flavour. The Krug Grande Cuvée with it’s intense complexity of flavours is a welcome accompaniment to a well-curated meal.
The Grand Marque champagne house makes sure that Krug Grande Cuvée is at the heart of the maison, and it’s easily the most popular ones on the roster since 1843, and has stood as a beacon of excellence and elegance for the maison. Krug was purchased by LVMH in 1999 and Olivier Krug is still the house’s director. The deep golden colour with beautiful bubbles herald subtlety and style as the aromas of flowers in bloom, ripe fruits and gingerbread give out a certain kind of maturity. Noteworthy is the fact that one needs over 20 years to craft each bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée and the subtlety of the bubbles is a result of resting for at least another six years in Krug ’s cellars. 40 percent of the grapes used in the Grande Cuvée are grown by Krug, and the rest come from hand-selected growers in the region. It is the first prestige cuvee re-created each year, beyond the very notion of vintage and is the world’s best-rated Champagne for years.
Here’s an interesting fact about Krug as explained by Krug’s founder who insisted that people should drink Champagne purely for pleasure, not to show off their knowledge or affluence. It’s the label’s raison d’etre and to showcase that statement, it is served in regular white wine glasses so as to preserve the bubbles and aromas better than flutes or coupes.
And what’s memorable about each of these exquisite bottles of champagne? The fact that the ID code, a six- digit number located on the upper left hand side of the back label, can be used as a reference to discover which vintages, grapes, and vineyard plots were used to make that specific blend, a way to collect bottles and enjoy them later. You can access all of that information through the website. Now in it’s 167th Edition, the Krug Grande Cuvée will soon be available at the Mumbai Duty-Free and is priced at Rs 21,888.