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100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I suppose the 1996 Clos du Mesnil can’t get any better by my standards. It never fails to leave me speechless. The 1996 is a modern-day 1988 or 1979, which is to say a classic among classics; in fact the 1996 may very well be the greatest Clos du Mesnil period. Smoke, bright fruit, crushed rocks and smoke inform the kaleidoscopic, breathtaking finish. (AG) )
96 points Wine Spectator
Offers fine depth and complexity, showing aromas of coffee, mushroom and candied citrus. This is laserlike on the palate, focusing its citrus, honey and mineral flavors and corralling them to a long finish. Still a baby, with great length and potential. Best from 2010 through 2030.
Krug Clos du Mesnil, a very rare Champagne, showcases the unique character of a single plot of Chardonnay, harvested in a single year. Our 1.84-hectare vineyard overlooked by the village church has been protected by walls since 1698. The vineyard is located in the heart of Mesnil-sur-Oger, one of the most iconic villages for Chardonnay in the Champagne region. Krug Clos du Mesnil has an expansive generous personality enhanced by the finish which powers through with extreme precision.
The vineyard was secretly replanted over eight years, and it was not until 1979 that the first harvest was deemed to fulfil expectations. When the wine was tasted, it proved so outstanding that the Krugs decided to bottle it on its own. There would be no "assemblage” – a bold decision amply justified by the exquisite quality of the single ingredient.
The story of Clos du Mesnil started in 1698 when a 1,85 ha plot in the outskirts of the village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger was sealed with walls for reasons unknown. The village grew in size and in 100 years the vineyard plot was surrounded by housing. The walls protected the vineyards from being dug up and from being used for housing purposes. The plot landed in the hands of the Krug family, when the brothers were searching for new vineyard acquisitions in the 1975s. A property was being sold in the Côte de Blancs, and as vineyard land was fiercely sought after, the brothers bought the plot without really seeing what they had bought.
When they first saw the Clos du Mesnil, they became very excited by the idea of producing a single vineyard wine. As the plot was not in good condition, Krug had to take the decision to replant it. Therefore, the first vintage of Krug Clos du Mesnil dates back to 1979 when the vines were old enough to produce good wine and when the unique quality of wine from the plot was realised. The Clos du Mesnil is produced in a similar way to the vintage. The plot comprises 6 individual parcels of varying vine ages. Each is picked and vinified separately. Enhancing terroir attributes is the guiding philosophy throughout vine growing and vinification. Rémi Krug stresses that it was not the single vineyard concept that was fascinating in itself. Instead it was the uniqueness of the parcel and its wine; “a diamond one wishes to show on its own”. The Krugs always insist that the Clos du Mesnil is a unique wine, but never better than the vintage or the Grande Cuvée. In this massive volume vintage the Clos du Mesnil is however a true diamond of a wine.
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.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|1 204€ +9.9%||1 096€ -29.2%||1 549€ +57.6%||983€|