Julie Cavil, first female Chef de Cave at Maison Krug, presents the Grande Cuvée 168 with Olivier Krug

Historic handover in Reims: for the first time the assemblage of the cuvées is handed to a woman

29-05-2020

Maison Krug in Reims doesn’t need to be introduced: given its year of establishment, 1843, and its international fame which places it in the pantheon of the greatest Champagnes, and because it’s still the only one to create, each year, only Cuvées de Prestige.

Joseph Krug established the company while exploring his philosophy of life that accepted no compromise, trying to produce always the best Champagne. Now there’s the sixth generation, with Olivier Krug and a 2020 that brings a historic moment for the brand: for the first time a woman was chosen as Chef de Cave, Julie Cavil– having already worked for the Maison since 2006 – to consecrate the future assemblages of Champagne Krug.

Olivier Krug plays with the portrait of the Maison’s founder

Olivier Krug plays with the portrait of the Maison’s founder

For many years Julie worked side by side with Eric Label, historic Chef de Cave, now promoted to Directeur Adjoint de la Maison also curating "Clos du Mesnil”, another Krug icon. It’s interesting to point out that Julie comes from a different industry from Champagne.

We asked her how she landed at Krug 13 years ago and if she dreamt of becoming the Chef de Cave: «Not at all. I’m the daughter of a doctor and I was born in a region in the middle of France, an area where there is no viticulture. I have an unusual background. I previously worked for an advertising agency in Paris. I was an account director and there I met my husband. We’re both wine lovers. My dream was to pursue a career in the wine industry. In 2002 our passion brought us to the Champagne region. I returned here to study oenology, in school. It was all very strange: I wasn’t local, I was older than the other students and I was already a mother. My determination and my desire to fulfil my dream prevented me to stop. When I was ready to choose the Maison where I was to apply for a job, Krug opened their doors to me with the generosity that is typical of the Maison. In my case it was Eric Lebel who shared his experience with me, his passion and skill, keeping me under his wing since 2006, when my story with Krug began. And now, as Chef de Cave, I have the duty to recreate, each year, Joseph Krug’s dream».

During an unusual tasting in quarantine, entirely online, we had the chance to taste the Grande Cuvée 168 through a virtual room in video conference with Olivier KrugJulie Cavil and Francesca Terragni, marketing and communication director at Moët Hennessy Italia, all directed by young brand manager Carola Braggio.

For each participant the tasting, at home with a bottle to taste at hand, and the stories of Julie and Olivier on the extraordinary Grande Cuvée 168offered a unique digital experience. This Champagne is the result of an assemblage of as many as 198 wines selected among 11 different vintages, the youngest being 2012 while the oldest is 1996.

52% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 13% Meunier, seven years in the cellar, six years sur lies plus a year of rest after the dégorgement. It’s interesting to stress that in 2011 they introduced the Krug ID, that is to say a code printed on the back label that has all the details regarding the assemblage and the ageing of the wine.

The Krug ID of this great Grande Cuvée is 219012. During the tasting both Olivier Krug and Julie Cavil stressed that the 2012 millesimewas a marvellous year with a limited harvest because of weather conditions that were not ideal in the entire region. A very fresh Champagne, both on the nose and on the palate, with notes of hazelnut, elegantly toasted, later opening to citrus fruits. The palate is thrilling. For us at Identità this is one of the best Grandes Cuvées of the past few years.

Imagining that the wine will grow richer, by evolving, the 168 edition will be worth buying and keeping among the “precious” bottles in one’s cellar. Finally, one has to stress that Olivier Krug tasted his first Champagne of the Maison when he was born, because it’s a tradition of the family to wet the lips of the new-born with a drop of Krug.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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