Luxury in a Glass

The email’s subject read, “Invitation to a Champagne Conversation with Krug and Louis Vuitton.” I blinked at my computer screen and read it again. Yes, it did indeed contain the words invitation, Krug, champagne and Louis Vuitton. I thought I was surely dreaming. Krug and Louis Vuitton together, in one setting? I was all in!

Days later, on a rainy, cold January afternoon I slipped into the cozy environs of Quill at The Jefferson Hotel. Along with an exclusive group (less than a handful) of D.C. food and wine tastemakers, I was treated to a conversation and tasting by Krug and Vuitton. We were called together to discuss the current state of luxury. The two luxury brands are companies held under the LVMH Corporation and partially owned by Christian Dior. LVMH owns numerous luxury labels including Moet, Hennessey, Thomas Pink, and Fendi. Vuitton and Krug epitomize luxury brands that are evolving to capture the hearts of the contemporary luxury lover.

Krug’s ideal demographic consists in part of the 35 to 50 year-old entrepreneur (male or female) who doesn’t know about wine but wants the best and wants to be shown it without much fuss and fluff. They are contemporary and optimistic. They have savior faire and a joie de vivre. So does Krug champagne.

I often talk about styles of wines in relationship to human personalities. To me Krug represents contemporary freshness and finesse. The flavor profile of a Krug champagne is lemon or citrus, fresh bread, almond and richness without sacrificing freshness.

Their entry level, standard release, non-vintage champagne (basic level) is called Grande Cuvee. This retails around $150. Why the higher price for a non-vintage standard release champagne? It is a higher quality entry-level bottle than other champagnes. All of Krug’s champagnes are “prestige” and come from the harvest’s first pressing, i.e., the best juice. Also, it takes seven years to bottle Krug non-vintage champagne. Grande Cuvee can also include still wines from great harvests from 20 years ago. This particular afternoon the Grande Cuvee did not disappoint with its classic citrus, honey, and almond croissant flavors. I was delighted to see that Quill lists Grande Cuvee by the glass, (one of the few, if not only, place in the city that does).

Quill also provided wonderful accompaniments for the champagnes we tasted. We were served shrimp cocktail with horseradish crème fraiche, cheese plates with sweet “wine pearls” and seasonal fruit chutney; and local charcuterie. All are currently available on the Quill menu.

When we tasted the rosé, my mind reeled at the thought of how good it will taste when it ages. Krug’s rosé is the only prestige rosé champagne that blends wines from all three traditional champagne grape varietals. The use of all three grape varieties gives Krug rosé a richness unlike any other. It releases raisin on the nose and has a refreshing finish.

That stormy afternoon, we also had the opportunity to taste a quite appropriate treat in light of weather, the latest Krug vintage release. The 2000 vintage is affectionately named, the “Gourmandise Orageuse.” Krug indicates it means “stormy indulgence.” The climate in Champagne, in 2000, was unusual and chaotic. Hence, the grapes produced an extraordinary Krug vintage. Apple flavors and acidity make it very drinkable. However, the 2000 reflects the chaos of the climate the grapes were grown with a resulting rare style and elegance. But, isn’t that why we seek luxury? It provides a little needed comfort and elegance in our sometime chaotic, stormy contemporary world. Cheers to Krug! And cheers to you! Enjoy

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