The One With The Pride Of Krug

To say that the House of Krug are modest people will be an understatement.

But then again, they have every right to be proud of their bold heritage. I love champagne very much like any other person, but it wasn’t until a night of Krug tasting at Otto e Mezzo got my lips smacking in deep, new found appreciation for this liquid gold.

Krug Champagne Dinner at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo

The champagnes of Krug is decidedly elitist; but in an elegant, tasteful way. The lineage is curated from some 250 plots of vine in France’s Champagne region (hence the name); a mere 0.1% of what is available.

Selection of the finest? Nose-up to the mediocre? If you had as much Krug as I did in one dinner, your guess will be as informed as mine.

Krug Champagne Dinner at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo

My very first glass was a Krug Clos du Mesnil of the 1998 vintage. Conversations were rife with speculations of what makes this glass different. The others may taste wonderfully complex with full aroma, but a glass of Krug Clos du Mesnil possesses a singular intensity crafted to attack the senses. As I took a deep sip, I was pleasantly stunned on how sharp it played on my palate, rising above a sea of other tastes with a distinct freshness.

KRUG

This was no easy feat, considering the amazing first course for the night, a warm lobster salad served on roast ligurian artichoke. Top that up with cinta senese ham, it was titillating ensemble of quality ingredients.

But my glass of Krug rose to the occasion, stood tall in a clutter of taste. It was like… a soloist in an orchestra. Despite the best effort of the other players, only a true star can take the centre stage.

As the night progressed with livelier banter at the height foodie’s sophistication (ehem!), I was distracted by the arrival of roast duck foei gras at the table.

Krug Champagne Dinner at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo

Have I told you how much I love foie gras? If I have said it once, I have said it many, many times. The foie gras at Otto e Mezzo was work of a master; rich and buttery without being overwhelming, complemented perfectly with hazelnut sauce and diced smoked duck.

Yet my glass of (now slightly warmer) Krug Clos du Mesnil seems determined not to be outdone. Gone was that citrus-y freshness; in its place I was intrigued to discover a creamy, full-bodied sensation that permeates the senses despite the foie gras.

That, my friend, was a pure expression of a single vineyard, a single grape variety and a single year.

Krug Champagne Dinner at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo

But how far can a glass of champagne go against the best work of the chefs at Otto e Mezzo? I was about to find out with homemade fettuccine served with incredibly generous shavings of fresh black winter truffle. The smell was so intense that the whole table of chatty food bloggers fell into a reverent silence.

It was a close contender to dethrone the Clos du Mesnil. If you ask me if it was a gastronomical war assaulting my senses, I would agree. But I’ll also be quick to point out that it wasn’t unlike a friendly soccer match. Both the Krug and the truffle want to win, but it didn’t matter to a spectator like me. That course was a pleasurable tussle from start to finish.

Krug Champagne Dinner at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo

The intensity of the night then took a breather with the next course – spiced roast challans duck supreme. Forgive me, but it did felt like eating slices of perfectly grilled, medium rare steaks. At the best of times I am not a fan of duck meat, so it took some exceptional kitchen wizardry for me to actually enjoy this.

But was it a match to my beloved glass of Clos du Mesnil? If you have to ask, you don’t really have to know.

Krug Champagne Dinner at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo

The dinner drew to a close with an exceptional crispy pear tart. I would go as far as to say this was the highlight of the night; sweet thinly-sliced of golden pear on a buttery, flaky crust. I was swooning with pleasure as I took my first bite, so much so I threw caution table etiquette out of the window and ate it with my hand. Like a pizza.

Krug Champagne Dinner at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo

We had a fair share of the other Krug pride of prides available that night; a Krug Vintage 1998, a Krug Grande Cuvee and a Krug Rose. Each distinctively different from the others, with an inspiring story to match their mystics. From the extraordinary assertion of a single year to the most generous of all champagnes, I was tempted and seduced on all fronts.

But you know what they say about your first love. My first impression with my (now fifth) glass of Clos du Mesnil was a lasting, intense one, and it is not changing anytime soon. Even after I discovered that it’s some $7K a bottle, retail-price.

Verdict? Champagne is something that you can learn, like multiplication. If crafted happiness come in a glass, it has got to be a Krug Clos du Mesnil.

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
2/F, Alexandra House
5-17 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
2537 8859


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