Best of the Best 2012: International White Wines: Krug 1998 Brut Champagne

Both practical and visionary, Joseph Krug founded Champagne Krug in Reims, France, in 1843 to pursue his dream of creating a perfect Champagne through meticulous blending of a range of outstanding wines from outstanding vintages—a unique approach at the time. While other houses typically offer a hierarchy of Champagnes that begins with a nonvintage blend and culminates in a special prestige cuvée, Krug’s signature wine, Grande Cuvée—a complex blend of more than 120 wines made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier—establishes a house style that lies at the center of a portfolio of more specialized offerings. Krug Rosé, for instance, accentuates Pinot Noir in the blend, while Krug Clos du Mesnil and Clos d’Ambonnay capture the character of single vineyards and single varietals—Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, respectively—as expressed in a single vintage. Finally, Krug Vintage showcases the house style as rendered in a particular growing season. The Krug 1998 Brut Champagne (www.krug.com, $259) is subtle, focused, and fine, its gossamer texture gradually coating the palate with soft flavors of dried apricot, dried pineapple, almond paste, and sea brine.

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