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Apr 30, 2009

Ancient Champagne Part III

Continuing our unplanned theme of ancient champagnes...

This past March a 1928 Krug broke the world record for the most expensive bottle of Champagne ever sold. After several rounds of bidding at Acker Merrall & Condit in Hong Kong, Krug Collection 1928 went for US $21,200 (exceeding estimates).

According to Serena Sutcliffe MW, Champagne expert and head of auction house Sotheby's, the 1928 Krug is "one of the greatest Champagnes ever made." An absolute rarity, it's considered the ultimate expression of the legendary longevity of Krug champagnes.

What makes Krug 1928 so special? Four main reasons:
  • Krug's wine-making philosophy---involving a precise choice of grapes, fermentation in small oak casks, a blending process personally carried out by the Krug family, and very long cellar aging before release---was exactly the same in 1928 as today.
  • Second, 1928 was an extraordinary vintage. The climate was perfect in every sense, with just-right amounts of sun, heat, dryness and rain---each at the right moment. Grapes were beautiful and healthy. Picking took place at the end of September, with a perfection of balance between high sugar content and high acidity (important for long aging potential).
  • Third, perfection in aging. Krug 1928 has grown in ampleness, depth, and complexity. It's developed stunning notes of apricot and honey while retaining a fresh lively finish---described by one Krug-lover as "somewhat like Yquem with minute bubbles and no sugar."
  • Finally, not many bottles of Krug 1928 made it past the 1930s. The champagne would have been wildly popular anyway, but the dearth of good vintages during the 1930s madae Krug 1928 even more of a standout and a top choice).
See our earlier posts: Ancient Champagne Redux, about the recent discovery of an 1893 Veuve-Clicquot; and World's Oldest Champagne Opened (yep, an 1825 Perrier-Jouet was opened and tasted by a lucky few).
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