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What do you get when you mix the purity of Champagne’s terroir with the precision of German winemaking, and inject it with the sophistication of a French luxury group? You get the experience of Krug, one of the finest- and priciest bubblies on the market.
And what do you get when you put ten bloggers in a room and pour them copious amounts of said champagne? Well, you get a bunch of happy, drunken bloggers.
I was honoured to be part of that group invited by Krug for a tasting of some of their best bottles paired with a multi-course meal at 3 Michelin star 81/2 Otto e Mezzo in Hong Kong last week. As mentioned not least on Krug’s list of differentiators is its price tag, with some bottles upwards of $4000 usd. And I probably don’t need to tell you that a seat in 8 1/2 Hong Kong is a highly coveted commodity that can take months to book. As you could probably guess, this might be the only opportunity I’d have to experience both together for a very long time.
The scene is set on a misty Friday night, a small drizzle the only lingering trace of a vicious typhoon that just swept the city. A table of the city’s top food and fashion bloggers sit primly around a long table in a private room looking out on the neon lights of Central. At each place setting was four wine glasses and a menu for the night’s meal.
The room hushed as Arnaud Mirey, Krug’s Regional Brand Ambassador began his introduction of the storied champagne house. Established in 1843, Johann-Joseph Krug was a German who had learned the craft in Champagne but perfected it on his own plot in Reims. The house produces mainly prestige cuvees, blending different terroirs and vintages with precision as is common in the Champagne region. But perhaps more interesting is its production of a few single-plot vintages that showcase the purity and unique character of a time and place.
We had in order:
Krug Grand Cuvee
Krug Vintage 1998
Krug Clos Du Mesnil 1998
As you can see, 1998 was a good year indeed for Chardonnay.
Interestingly, we tasted all the wines before the food came out and were instructed to find our own best pairing with the dishes. I think this was a testament to how complex yet simultaneously versatile they were, as all the dishes brought out a unique dimension to each. The wines themselves changed in body and flavour throughout the night as they adjusted in temperature, and I found myself preferring different glasses as the night went on.
I won’t bore you with long drawn-out descriptions of tasting notes as I know how tedious it can be to read those without having a glass in hand to compare it to. Or perhaps you do, and in which case, email me and let’s discuss. But I’m going to include some brief notes that provide some insight into the character of each bottle.
- a blend of 120+ wines from 10+ vintages, truly showcasing the craftsmaship of the House
- full flavour and aroma, you can really taste the complexity resulting from the perfect balance of so many different terroirs
- citrusy, golden, paired nicely with very savoury dishes like the fettuccine with black winter truffle and parmesan
- ”the best expression of that year”, 1998 was a good year for Chardonnay, “classic weather” with scorching hot August, heavy rain in September and mild harvest weather
- a ‘blanc de blanc’ meaning it was made from white grapes only
- deep and pure flavour, light gold colour, kind of creamy and oaky
- paired well with our warm lobster salad
- my favourite in the beginning but lost out to Clos du Mesnil as the night went on
Clos du Mesnil 1998
- the piece de resistance of the night, this again was made from the 1998 Chardonnay harvest, but only this time from a single 1.84 hectare plot
- very rare, only 12,000 bottles
- extremely aromatic, balanced and pure flavour, pale gold in colour
- paired beautifully with all the dishes, would love to drink this all the time with everything, is that too much to ask?
- the “fun” one of the lot, but demands to be taken seriously
- made from three different grape varieties and many vintages, and blended with skin-fermented pinot noir
- may be the best rose I’ve ever had, subtle taste, elegant, balanced
- went very well with the Spiced Roast Challans Duck Supreme
It was an absolutely beautiful evening of champagne and fine cuisine, with all the laughter and conversation that the combination brings. Thank you Krug, thank you WOM Guide and thank you Salt Creatives for inviting me to share this evening.
8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
Shop 202, 2/F, Alexandra House, 5-17 Des Voeux Road Central
+852 2537 8859