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Krug’s vintage philosophy is to make a statement to reflect the story of the year rather than a creative expression. 2000 follows 1998 because, in Olivier’s words, “1999 was a good year in Champagne but nothing exciting.”Cavill summed it up as “a year of no faults but no story to tell.” 2000, by comparison, has quite a story. The end of 1999 brought the two biggest wind storms in France in the century, blacking out two-thirds of the country on the night before the turn of the millennium. It was a year with little sun but above average temperatures.

Combining delicacy, balance and bountiful citrus notes of all types, Krug 2004, named “Luminous Freshness” by the House, evokes the sensations of early summer mornings in Champagne. Krug 2004 is a dialogue between shining Chardonnays (39%) and the backbone of Pinot Noir (37%) combined with the vivacity, tension and citrus notes of Meunier (24%). The elegance of Krug 2004 comes after 12 years in the cellars gaining in harmony, expression and finesse.

At first sight, the beautiful light golden colour promises radiant freshness. The nose begins with an expressive bouquet of ginger, candied citrus and quince, followed by richer notes evoking lemon meringue tart, plum and mirabelle. On the palate, a very balanced Champagne with light notes of brioche and honey giving way to an array of fresh citrus, including oranges, lemons and mandarins, enhanced by a very elegant finish.

Krug is the greatest Champagne. It is, as others (including myself) have said many times, Champagne’s answer to Burgundy’s Romanee-Conti. It is superbly poised, the flavour and texture as complex as a Beethoven symphony played in a great concert hall under the baton of a great conductor. Price: $449.00; Rating: 99 Points & Top 100 Wines of the Year; James Halliday

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