“Olivier Krug, Krug Grande Cuvée and the 1996 Vintage Krug at Keste NYC,” read the email invitation from Ed “Champagne” Mc Carthy. Ed has a long history with Krug going back 50 years. It was Ed that introduced Krug to Michele and I over 40 years ago and it quickly became Michele’s favorite Champagne. We met Ed along with Olivier Krug, and Nicole Burke, Brand Manager for Moet Hennessy, at Keste’ for lunch.
Charles, Ed Mc Carthy, Olivier Krug and Roberto Caporuscio
Krug Grande Cuvée 170 EME Edition Champagne made from 45/55% Pinot Noir, 15/20 Pinot Meunier and 25/35 Chardonnay–the percentage depends upon the vintage. The blend is made from 195 wines from 12 different vintages, the youngest from 2014 and the oldest from 1998. It is aged for seven years in the cellars. All Krug Champagnes are aged in used small oak barrels. They are all prestige cuvees made from Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages and are aged longer before release. The overall rating for the vineyards is 98% with Krug’s own vineyards rating 100%. This is a Champagne with hints of dried citrus fruit, gingerbread, hazelnuts and almonds, a note of honey and a touch of brioche. It has a long finish and a wonderful aftertaste. Fantastic! Ed looked up and said obviously this is not just another NV Champagne. $135
Roberto Caporuscio, the owner of Keste, brought us some appetizers. First was this large burrata cheese, rolled in a batter and deep fried. To make the crust extra crispy, Roberto told us he uses gluten free flour. When we cut it open, small balls of mozzarella in cream tumbled out.
Calzone — Instead of the typical ricotta filling, this calzone was filled with an assortment of meats and cheeses.
Roberto knows we always like to start with a Pizza Margherita to share, and then we let him choose the remaining pizzas.
Krug 1996 made from 48% Pinot Noir, 31% Chardonnay and 21% Meunier. 1996 was one of the best vintages of the century. It was the last vintage blended by three generations of the Krug family working together. It is made from 17 different growths. This is a champagne with rich mature aromas, full ripe flavors, hints of pear, ripe fruit, citrus, honey, gingerbread, butterscotch and brioche. It has a very long finish and a memorable aftertaste. This may very well be the wine of the century. Disgorged in 2007.
Olivier Krug told us that Krug vintage celebrates the distinct character of a particular year. A Krug vintage is a blend of the most expressive wines from a single year enhanced by a stay in the cellar of over 10 years. Every Krug is different. Olivier added that “it is the music of the year catered by Krug.”
The Krug philosophy is unique. Olivier explained that, “We take a musical approach to to Champagne creation: each plot of vines is a musician and the Cellar Master a conductor selecting those who will together preform the most generous expression of Champagne every year, Krug Grand Cuvée. Sometimes the musicians of a certain year have a unique song to play and sometimes a virtuoso soloist emerges during the auditions. Thus other Krug Champagne may also be born, making Music a natural way to reflect our craftsmanship.”
Oliver Krug told us that the 1996 vintage was a special year in Champagne. It is said to be one of the best vintages of the century and is often compared to the legendary 1928. The 1996 has special meaning for him because it was his first vintage. Also, it was the last vintage created by three generations of the Krug family working together: Paul II, Henri, Rémi, and Olivier.
Pizza with golfetta salame and black summer truffles. Golfetta is a type of salame imported from Italy made from lean cuts of pork leg.
Pizza del Papa — Perfect for Fall, we ended with this pizza that Roberto named in honor of the Pope. It was topped with butternut squash puree, cheese, peppers, and zucchini.
It was a great pleasure listening to Olivier Krug speak about his Champagne and tasting these great Champagnes with him and Ed Mc Carthy