Five Minutes with Olivier Krug
When he isn't off carrying the message of the House of Krug to the four corners of the world, the Directeur de la Maison is an avid gardener. He relishes the suspense of laying out a garden in winter that will only be seen in its full glory months later- akin to reproducing the legendary Krug style year after year.
At the recent launch of the Krug Vintage 2002, Olivier Krug shared with us about the Champagne house and the secrets behind its success.
What makes the House of Krug stand out from the rest?
The House of Krug was founded by my great-great-great grandfather Joseph Krug, a visionary man who decided more than 170 years ago to create a Champagne that did not exist and which still has not been copied. His genius idea was to go beyond all known boundaries by offering the fullest expression of Champagne every year, regardless of annual climate variations. By doing so, he created the only Champagne House that offers only Prestige Champagnes every year since 1843.
Superiority is not part of our vocabulary, and neither is competition. We concentrate on sharing and giving an emotion of generosity with feeling. I believe, and my great-great-great grandfather believed, this is what Champagne is all about.
When I talk about Champagne I talk about the pleasure. Pleasure is about sharing and falling in love and this is what makes Krug so unique.
Of course, Krug has been one of the most highly rated Champagnes for decades, and this consistency brings great joy to our teams as it is a recognition of the value of our passion. For us, the relationships we foster and the loyalty we gain are essential to our being.
We hear Japan makes up one of Krug’s largest markets, which is rather surprising. Can you tell us more about it?
Indeed, Japan has been Krug’s number one market in the world since 2010. I have a long-term love story with Japan. It all started more than 25 years ago, when I began my career at Krug with a two-years stay in Tokyo. Back then, Japan was a very small market for Champagne. So being there amongst the first surely helped. But above all, it is the clear link between the Japanese approach to luxury and Krug’s uncompromising philosophy that just makes sense to see it today as our most important market.
I think that Japanese people are very attached to authenticity, heritage and dedication to excellence. They are very passionate people and they are all about giving pleasure rather than collecting it.
Is there a reason the Krug 2002 comes after the 2003?
Paying close attention to every vineyard’s character, respecting the individuality of each plot and its wine allowed Krug Cellar Master Eric Lebel to identify the music of the year 2002. We want Krug and Champagne lovers to feel how singular the story of a year can be, so the blend should reflect that idea. Lebel always says: “For the House of Krug, pleasure is always beyond any notion of perfection, or predictability, and it is only by tasting the Champagne that we decide to present it to the market.”
This explains the House’s decision to hold Krug 2002 back to age an additional two years compared to Krug 2003, which was released in 2014. We act according to taste and taste alone, nothing else.
Business or any other parameter has no influence. Krug 2003 was ready before Krug 2002 so we released it first. It happened already in the past when Krug released 1989 before 1988.
What is unique about Krug 2002 from its predecessors?
Each Krug Champagne and hence each Krug Vintage has a story to tell. And the Krug iD, a six-digit number on the back label of each bottle, allows you to identify your bottle by revealing its unique story, as told by our Krug Cellar Master. You just need to enter the Krug iD online, via krug.com or the Krug App!
When you taste Krug 2002 alongside Krug 2003, you will realize how different they are. They share the same undisputed quality but, the result in your glass demonstrates how opposite the climates of these two years were! Eric Lebel captured the personality of each individual plot, through the wine of the year, to offer a pleasurable tasting experience.
We understand that there are many factors that contribute to the success of a wine. Can you share with us a few with regards to the Krug 2002?
When you add ideal and exceptional climatic conditions, generosity, with a unique craftsmanship and an uncompromising philosophy about quality, you obtain a great Champagne like Krug 2002!