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In 1996, in the village of Ambonnay, there were extremely wide temperature variations as the grapes were coming to the end of the cycle in the vineyard, with warm, sunny days and very cold nights, resulted in ripened grapes with an extremely high freshness. This weather pattern exalted the finesse of Clos d’Ambonnay’s Pinot Noir grapes. 1996 is to become a year that will go down in Champagne’s history books.
Krug’s savoir-faire has successfully revealed the depth and intensity of grapes of this single plot in the year 1996, enhanced by over twelve years in the cellar gaining finesse and elegance.
Krug Clos d’Ambonnay celebrates with the rarest of Champagnes the unique character of a particular Pinot Noir grape that of a small, walled, 0.68-hectare plot from the heart of Ambonnay, one of the most distinguished villages for this grape variety in Champagne, and one which has played a very special role in the life of the House of Krug. Krug Clos d’Ambonnay reveals a personality with significant presence, great substance and an amazing length and finesse.
Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1996 can be enjoyed with pan-seared firm-fleshed white fish, sea bass with a langoustine sauce or a light creamy almond sauce, boiled or grilled langoustines with a light sabayon cream, or simple top-quality food, such as “pata negra” bellota ham, or just a little black truffle sandwich.
Up to this point 1996 has been considered a fantastic vintage which produced classic wines; the best since 1990. A long, dry summer produced grapes of record ripeness with record acidity. Some, including myself, question how the 1996s are aging. The wines are generally characterized by a distinctive rather lemony acidity and very good attack, but some wines now seem terribly austere, while others already seem dangerously short of fruit. None of the subsequent vintages are quite as distinctive as 1996, which in the more successful cases should almost certainly be drunk after the 1999s.