The German Johann-Joseph Krug (1800-1866), born in Mainz, was from 1834 in a leading position for Adolphe Jacquesson in his champagne house and married his sister-in-law in 1841 (however, there is no relation to the Californian wine-growing pioneer Charles Krug). Together with the wine merchant Hippolyte de Vivès, the Krug et Cie. company was founded in Reims in 1843. In the beginning, the company traded in champagne and other wines from the Champagne region. Two years later, the production of champagne was started. After the death of Jean-Joseph, the company was divided between the widow, Hyppolite de Vivès and the son Paul Krug (1842-1910).
After de Vivès retired shortly afterwards, Paul Krug took over the management. Under his leadership the company developed into an important champagne house. From 1898 to 1910 he was also president of the Syndicat du commerce des vins de Champagne. As one of ten children, his son Joseph Krug succeeded him in 1910. Under Paul Krug II. (born 1912) with his cousin Jean Seydoux, the leading position of the house was consolidated and the property was enlarged by the purchase of first-class vineyard sites. In 1999, Krug was bought by the LVMH group. However, the business is still run by the family. These are Henri (born 1937) as general manager and his brother Rémi Krug (born 1942). Their children Olivier and Caroline are now in the sixth generation of the family and also work in the company.
The company's products are among the absolute top quality and are regarded in specialist circles as the quality standard for champagne. Special lovers of this brand even call themselves "Krugist" (French Krugiste, English Kruggist) and believe that there is no better champagne. As far as the extreme quality criteria are concerned, this is indeed a very special champagne. This begins with a selective selection of the grapes. Up to 70% of the grapes offered by grape growers are rejected and only the very best material is accepted. Also in our own vineyards we proceed with rigorous selection. The "Clos du Mesnil" vineyard in the Grand Cru community of Mesnil-sur-Oger covers only two hectares and is 100% Chardonnay.
The harvest of this tiny quantity often takes four to five days, as only the ripest grapes are taken in one pass. Only the must from the first grape pressing (cuvée) is used. Only pièces are used for the (first) fermentation, which are small oak barrels with a volume of 205 litres. Around 3,300 barrels of this type, some of which are up to 30 years old, are used. The ageing in old barrels results in a special smoothness. About 10% of them are exchanged annually, whereby they are first cleaned with hot water and used elsewhere for up to three years before being used for champagne production. The effort is enormous, but the exact procedure is one of the many secrets of Krug quality.
The company has always been a master in assemblage. The wines are stored on the yeast for a very long time. As a rule, champagnes are not suitable for storage and should be enjoyed relatively quickly. Not so with Krug - these are ideal for long storage and are treated like great wines. Another novelty is that champagne normally drunk at eight to 11 °Celsius can have a few degrees more with Krug products and this has a positive effect on the taste. This is why they are also an excellent accompaniment to many dishes. The "Grande Cuvée" is the standard product of the house and comprises 65 to 80% of the production quantity. For it 50 to 60 wines from up to 25 sites and six to ten vintages are used. The house avoids the usual term "sans anée" (vintageless) and calls it "multi-year champagne".) This champagne should only be opened after two years after delivery, some even think after ten years.
The blend of grape varieties in the vintage champagne "Vintage Brut" and "Millésime", which is only produced in special years, is different. They are stored on the yeast for at least 7 to 15 years. The 1990 vintage came onto the market in 2003. Only since 1983 has a rosé also been produced. It is assembled from about 50% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier and 25% Chardonnay plus the addition of a still Pinot Noir red wine from Aÿ and is much lighter than other rosé champagnes. The Cuvée de Prestige "Clos du Mesnil", first produced in 1979, comes from the above mentioned single vineyard. This top blanc de blancs is made from 100% Chardonnay and is stored for 12 to 15 years before being marketed. Only about 10,000 bottles are produced annually. The best vintages include 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988 (century champagne) and 1990.