The weather in 1998 was somehow classic, very contrasted as it often is in Champagne; we also had a particularly hot August, breaking a record set in 1962. We watched nervously as days where the temperature crept up to 39°C started to grill the leaves in the vineyard, creating damage of between 5 to 10% of the potential harvest.
Then at the end of the month, heavy rains caused more consternation as to how this would affect the grapes, so it was with relief that by early September dry, mild weather cheered everyone up. Perfect conditions for harvesting in the third week of September, and despite sharp climatic contrasts, 1998 will be remembered as a year of quantity as well as high quality grapes.
First tastings immediately showed wines had been affected by the extremely hot August. The challenge was to capture the circumstance of the year in our blend while looking for the necessary ageing potential. This is where the Chardonnays of the year, especially those from the beginning of the harvest, from the Côte des Blancs and also those from our vineyards in Trépail played a key role in calming the opulence of the other wines of the year by re-injecting the necessary dynamism to guarantee good ageing potential.
By the time we completed our blending proposition to tell this story of 1998, it was clear the Chardonnays were shining stars (46%). Almost all the Pinot Noirs (35%) were selected from the southern Mountain of Reims, which explains the solid foundation of Krug 1998, and finally the Meuniers (19%), mainly selected from the left side of the Marne Valley, Leuvrigny, less sunny than the right side gave the final touch and unique freshness.
This was my first vintage at the House of Krug and I remember when the blend was proposed by Mr Henri Krug, I made all the calculations, and after reading so many documents at the house I knew Krug Champagnes were always driven mainly by Pinot Noirs. So when I commented on this predominance of Chardonnay, Henri Krug quickly responded by saying that in a year where the winners were the Chardonnays, the story should be a tribute to that winner. It was only the second time the house had written such a similar story, the first being back in 1981.
For the tasting committee, Krug 1998 shares the round and warm characteristics of 1989 as well as the extreme elegance and freshness of Krug 1988. Krug 1998 is a story of astonishing purity, precision, elegance and a very long finish.
Unique to the House of Krug, every Krug Vintage is crafted to be different, to reveal the expression of a particular year. A year with character, a year with a special story to tell in a way that Krug alone can relate. To narrate this story, Krug has blended very expressive wines from a single year, enhanced by a stay of over ten years in the cellars. Krug Vintage is the story of a year as seen by Krug; there are as many stories as there are Krug Vintages.
Krug 1998 offers astonishing purity, precision, elegance and a very long finish. For the House of Krug, a focus on Chardonnay for Krug’s 1998 vintage was an obvious choice due to the outstanding personality of Chardonnay grapes of that year. This vintage is known as our Hommage au Chardonnay as it is only the second Krug vintage, after 1981, where Chardonnay dominates. It has an extremely high ageing potential.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|268€ +9.4%||245€ -4.3%||256€ +55.2%||165€|