A New Chapter at Krug Champagne
Julie Cavil succeeds longtime winemaker and mentor Eric Lebel as the grande marque's chef de cave
Early this year, Krug Champagne’s new chef de cave quietly stepped into the shoes of the house’s longtime winemaker, Eric Lebel. And for the first time in Krug’s 175-year history, those shoes have high heels.
Julie Cavil, an assistant chef de cave at Krug since 2006, formally assumed her new role in January. The change paves the way for the appointment of Lebel as deputy director of Krug, working on interdisciplinary projects within Krug’s majority owner, LVMH Moët Hennessy, after 21 years as chef de cave.
Cavil is not the first female chef de cave among Champagne’s grandes marques. But her new title adds strength to the growing number of women in leadership roles in the historically male-dominated Champagne industry. Yet Cavil gives little thought to the significance of her gender, instead explaining that this transfer has been in the works for more than a decade.
“I joined Krug in 2006 …. [After] one or two years, it was like a mutual choice,” says Cavil. “That there would be a natural transmission [of knowledge and experience], together, and that I would work for a number of years at Eric’s side.”
Before joining Krug, Cavil attended enology school in Champagne and earned internship experience working four harvests at Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon, also owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy. However, Cavil’s winemaking represents a second chapter in her professional life. In 2002, Cavil and her husband decided to eschew their comfortable life in Paris, pursuing what she refers to as their ‘life project,’ a dream of quieter living and raising their family closer to nature.
“It was a matter of taste,” says Cavil, describing her path to wine. “I’m not from Champagne—I’m from the center of France—so when I had to choose what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, at 17 years old, enology was far from my mind.” But at business school, and then during her work for a Paris-based advertising agency, she was exposed to wine. “At that time, the taste came.” What started as casual tastings with friends led to professionally organized events, spurring Cavil to learn about wine on her own. Eventually, Cavil’s enthusiastic hobby intersected with her family’s ‘life project,’ and the move to Champagne afforded the opportunity to turn her passion for wine into a career.
Though Cavil’s time in Champagne got off to a novel start, after almost 20 years in the region, her work ethic and drive has merited a lauded position at one of the region’s most esteemed houses.
“I’m very proud, and [I take the position] with a great sense of responsibility, but also a lot of confidence,” says Cavil, citing the well-thought and long-term training she received from Lebel, as well as the talented team with whom she works, as the strengths that will help her succeed.
“I must admit, if you had told me at 17 that I would [one day] be living in Reims, working as a winemaker, at Krug—I’m not sure I would have believed you,” laughs Cavil. But, as she points out, it’s not until protagonists reinvent themselves that many of the most exciting stories become interesting.
Krug voted World's Most Admired Champagne Brand
Krug has jumped four places to oust Bollinger from first place for the first time in three years. Louis Roederer finished second and Pol Roger came third in this year’s list, which is available to download. More than 200 of the world’s top masters of wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists took part in the annual poll, which pits champagne brands against each other.
Eight brands fell out of favour and dropped down the list this year. Twelve brands climbed up the rankings – Pol Roger catapulted 17 places to become the third most admired brand in 2016.Five re-entries and three new entries, in the form of Jacquart, Alain Thienot and Le Mesnil, made it into the top 30. Billecart-Salmon is the only brand to keep the same place in 2016 as last year.
Christian Davis, editor of The World’s Most Admired Champagne Brands, said: “Once again, the findings may raise a few eyebrows among the ferment that comprises the champagne/ wine trade. But bear in mind, this is not a science – it is about people’s perceptions.
“But these are the perceptions of people who work in the trade, buying, selling, listing wine all the time. They are the professionals. Dismiss their views and our findings at your peril.”
Krug en Capitale, a musical fourth edition /
Krug has announced the fourth edition of “Krug en Capitale”, matching the pleasures of the palate to delicious sounds for the ears. This year the event, which features a “musical vegetable garden”, takes place in the Nissim de Camondo Museum from March 8-12.
Krug created “Krug en Capitale” in 2012, a unique champagne tasting experience with menus designed specially by a chef, and served in an exceptional setting in Paris. Previous editions were held on a rooftop in the 9th arrondissement, the fifth floor of the La Samaritaine and a private terrace at the Plaza Athénée. Now “Krug en Capitale” comes to the Nissim de Camondo Museum.
For this fourth edition, Krug explores the power of music on how tastes are perceived, creating a “musical vegetable garden”. Guests are invited to stroll through the ephemeral garden and its poetic soundscape before savoring the menu created by chef Armand Arnal, whose restaurant La Chassagnette in Arles features organic vegetables from its very own garden. The Michelin-starred chef has drawn inspiration from the vegetables grown in his garden to highlight the emblematic notes of Krug Champagne during lunch, for a refined snack, or at dinner.
Reservations are open for this one-of-a-kind tasting experience from February 1 at www.krugencapitale.fr.
March 8-12, 2016
Musée Nissim de Camondo, 63 rue de Monceau, Paris 8th arrondissement
Lunch from 12pm to 15pm: 160 euros per person – 30 people
”K Time” from 4:30pm to 6:30pm: 45 euros per persons – 15 people
Dinner from 8pm to 11pm: 280 euros per person – 30 people
Krug Harvest 2014
Once again the magic of the Champagne has happened and this year’s harvests were illuminated by an unexpected sun that had been missing for most of August.At Krug, pruning shears were first heard on September 9th in some of the oldest vineyards of our beloved Clos du Mesnil plot. It was three days before the official start to the harvest season but we found the ideal balance had already arrived!
Thus began a burst of activity across the whole Champagne region including an intensive few days of work in the fields. “50% of the expected grapes were collected in only 4 days,” confirms Chef de Caves Eric Lebel. During the harvest, we are the mercy of Mother Nature and it took a remarkable collective effort amongst the Krug team to adapt and work on the grape musts while respecting the strong qualitative requirements of our House.
The harvest of 2014 will remain in our memories and we are sure that late summer warmth will be felt during the first tastings; we are looking forward to it already…