Bruce's birthday bash - In particular, the Clos d'Ambonnay seems to be headed for the stratosphere, although it is a very unusual Blanc de Noirs in that it actually tastes like what Clos du Mesnil would taste like if it were made from red grapes, which is to say the style is decidedly focused and mineral-driven.
Medium straw in colour, the nose is profoundly scented of apple tart, lightly toasted hazelnuts, orange blossom, brioche, and granola with subtle nuances of crushed stones, musk and honeycomb. The palate is incredibly concentrated, crisp and taut with great richness matched by very fine bubbles and a very long, steely finish. There's definitely a lot more to come from this wine but it's looking very fine now.
Somewhat surprisingly, Krug presents the much-anticipated 1996 Blanc de Noirs Clos d'Ambonnay as the first wine in our tasting. This incredibly refined Champagne opens with a superb, well-delineated bouquet and an impeccable, almost imperceptible mousse. At first very refined, the wine tightens up in the glass considerably as the acidity comes to life on the palate. The purest essence of crushed rocks and minerals define the finish. Today the 1996 Clos d'Ambonnay comes across as incredibly young and searing, in fact at this stage, it reminds me most of the vins claires I tasted at the estate last year! The wine will require considerable patience, but given its lack of track record, it seems reasonable to wonder whether the wine will ever be truly as expressive as the 1995, or the other wines in Krug's 1996 lineup. No disgorgement date provided. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2026. My tasting this year with Olivier Krug was fascinating as I had the rare opportunity to taste all of the house's 1996's side by side, a comparison that yielded very interesting results.