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97 points Wine Spectator
*Collectibles* Incredibly fresh and vibrant, this stunning Champagne weaves a tightly knit skein of ripe pear and tangy yellow plum fruit flavors together, with accents of rich pastry cream, toasted brioche, elderflower, ground cardamom and coffee liqueur. Shows a beautiful texture. A thread of salinity winds through to the lasting finish. Disgorged fall 2013. Drink now through 2029.
94 points Antonio Galloni
The 2003 Clos du Mesnil is insanely beautiful. Vivid, resonant and textured in the glass, the 2003 boasts magnificent depth and pure breed. Since I last tasted it a few months ago, the 2003 has begun to shut down, which is probably a great sign for its future and overall longevity. Hints of smoke, slate and dried pear gradually open up in the glass, but the 2003 mostly stands out for its exceptional finesse. 94+ (AG)
2003 was especially difficult in Mesnil, because the frost in early April halved the crop. 8,671 bottles and 659 magnums were made. Harvested 27 and 29 August. Really impressive nose -- very broad, creamy, and flinty, with a little bit of reductiveness combining with a smoky flavour and a lovely dairy yoghurt character. Dry and savoury, fabulous length and intensity on the palate. The reputation of this cuvée is deserved in the sense of the sheer quality of flavours and the massive depth on display. It doesn’t seem clumsy in the way that some 2003s do --but it isn’t doesn't have the defining acidity of, say, Salon 2002. In fact it is quite soft. The real attraction, though, is the range and power of the nose. 18.5/20 points.
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.
2003 stands out for its dramatic climate of extremes: a very dry winter and spring with an early flowering period followed by a very warm summer. The rare beauty and singularity of the year’s grapes are expressed by the power and aromas inherited from the very particular circumstances of 2003, making this year an exceptional one.
The House of Krug chose to create Krug Clos du Mesnil 2003 because, from the very first tastings, the Chardonnay grapes of the 2003 harvest already revealed a delightful, expressive and balanced character without any excess aromatic intensity.
At tasting, the Krug Clos du Mesnil 2003 offers a vibrant, bright golden-yellow colour. The nose exudes aromas of praline, hazelnut, ginger and spice. The palate reveals a powerful and intense wine that come from honey, quince and candied citrus flavours. The finish offers a hint of lemon and a good length.
A challenging vintage for Champagne in the face of an unprecedented heatwave during the summer months. The wines are characterised by the year's unusual circumstances. Large-scale frosts destroyed most of the projected yield and they were followed by hail and an extremely hot summer. Harvest was kick-started early on August 21st and yields remained minuscule at 8,100 kg/ha. Atypically round, ripe, sun-kissed wines that miss freshness and backbone. The total acidity level was notably low, at 5.8 g/l. Only the very best performers were able to avoid heaviness and overripe aromatics. This vintage was not largely declared but some famous names, Krug and Dom Pérignon at the fore, chose to experiment with it. Both produced excellent 2003s and Dom Pérignon's chef de cave at the time named the vintage as one of the creations he is most proud of. Some special cuvées surfaced, such as 2003 by Bollinger, as the house found the year did not stylistically fit into the La Grande Année range. Palmer & Co also took a curious route and made its 2003 only in magnum, releasing it much later than usual as cuvée Grands Terroirs. The ageing capacity of 2003 is much debated. Dom Pérignon's Richard Geoffroy had great confidence in his 2003 and he actually regretted releasing it too early. The jury is still out, but personally I am inclined to drink mine sooner rather than later, as the advancement post-disgorgement has in most cases been rather rapid and the wines miss the acidic backbone necessary for retaining freshness.