The lessons I learn from Hautes Etudes du Gout are many and valuable; the teachers I crossed paths with are extraordinary. One of the nights, however, brought me a meeting with the most prestigious teacher in the art of living: the Krug champagne, arguably the best champagne in the world. This encounter took place during an exceptional educational dinner that stayed in my memory as a transformational experience and a lesson about vision.
THE KRUG STORY: A STORY ABOUT VISION AND INNOVATION
The Krug story begins with Joseph Krug, a young man born in Mainz who made his way to Paris having one dream: to make a name of himself in the world of champagne. Talented, ambitious, creative, and speaking three languages, Joseph is employed by the house of Jacquesson, the best in the field at that time. He would grow to be made partner but his dream was bigger than that. In 1843, at the age of 42, although in a privileged position, he decides to fund his own champagne house. His vision – a bold one: to produce exceptional champagne every year, regardless of the climate variations and the state of the crop. This is how the Krug reserves were born. Visionary, nonconformist, innovative, Joseph Krug was the first one capable to create only cuvées de prestige every year, revolutionizing the world of champagne and going where nobody had gone before. This is still valid to this day.
KRUG CHAMPAGNE: EFFERVESCENT EXCELLENCE
Apart from his creations, his most valuable legacy is the famous ruby-coloured notebook where he would jot down his ideas, philosophy and knowledge. The notebook is kept to this day in the house that carries his name, like an invaluable will. In this notebook, Joseph Krug noted that a house should produce only two types of champagne of the same quality: one that should be the complete expression of champagne every year and a second that should express the specific circumstances of certain years and therefore should only be produced in those special years that have a story to tell. This is how Krug Grande Cuvée and Krug Vintage were born. As time passed and generations changed, other creations such as Krug Rosé, Clos du Mesnil or Clos D’Ambonnay were added, all of them expressing an unquestionable quality that does not allow ranking them – they are all exceptional. But the archetype of the Krug philosophy remains the Krug Grande Cuvée. One meeting with it is enough for everything to turn into a grand love story – just like it happened to me.
THE KRUG EXPERIENCE
My Krug experience started – how else? – with a visit to the wineries and the precious reserves, where, together with my HEG colleagues, we were guided by Mr. Remi Krug, a man capable of talking about champagne as if it were a poetic art. Everything then continued with an exceptional dinner with a menu as sophisticated as seemingly simple signed by Arnaud Lallement, Chef L’Asiette Champenoise, 3 Michelin stars. And throughout the journey, we were accompanied, of course, by the Krug champagne which made our souls sing with each dish. The ruby notebook, created after Joseph Krug’s original notebook, became a witness to the experience, housing our sensations, reflections and notes during that evening. Today, this notebook accompanies me wherever I go, with all its lessons as a reminder that excellence is the ultimate goal which I should always aim for in whatever I do.
Mr. Remi Krug, who welcomed us with hospitality and openness, said that when it comes to champagne, the most important thing to learn is patience: “time is our friend, not our enemy.” But also the courage to dare, to take risks, to surprise and finally, to enjoy every moment instead of postponing joy, waiting for special occasions. I was there to learn about pairing. However, in the end, I learnt a lot more than that: I learnt about life.