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#35 - 2003 Krug Clos du Mesnil

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The Clos de Mesnil vintage is the Krug estate???s most famous wine, listed as one of the few Grand Cru offerings in the region. Original owner Johann-Joseph Krug Krug's fluency in multiple languages allowed him to take his wines to markets across Europe in the 1800s, cementing Krug as the most-recognized name in Champagne. Today, his estate is still partially owned by his descendents. Olivier Krug became the house director in 2009, and has since continued the tradition of producing the finest Chardonnay and Champagne blends in the world.

Most of the wines grown by Krug are a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir, but the Clos du Mesnil vintage consists of 100 percent Chardonnay aged in French oak. Krug lets the wine age at least 7 years before releasing it, and some wines in the Collection series take up to 20 years. The oak barrels the estate uses during fermentation were custom-made for Krug, and consist of wood from 200-year-old trees in Hautes Futaies. A tasting committee tries samples of each vintage after five months to determine its quality.

The 2003 Krug Clos du Mesnil is especially rare, as a late spring frost stunted the initial growth of Chardonnay grapes. However, the weather was tempered by a hot summer, which allowed the grapes to ripen quickly with plenty of residual sugar. The result required an early harvest in order to retain the acidity that is essential for Chardonnay to age well. While the harvest was small, it produced some of the best wine Krug produced that decade.