My opinions regarding 2003 champagne prestige cuvées that should never have been released are well known, so it was not without due apprehension that I approached Krug 2003 recently. Yes, this is a child of a hot and challenging vintage, yes it has softer acidity, more dry extract and more phenolic structure (true to the season) and, yes, it is as such a lesser wine in the grand lineage of Krug Vintage. Yet I have no reservation in declaring Krug Vintage the greatest wine of the vintage yet (Clos du Mesnil 2003 is still to come). It holds its integrity on the finish like no other 2003 champagne of its age, charged with a tension, a focus, a line and a persistence seen by no other. It articulates the charcter of the year, but in a gentle, measured and graceful manner, rather than aggressive and abrupt. It leads out with notes of exotic spice, grapefruit, fig, dried peach and incense, and opens to lemon zest freshness. The toughest seasons define the greatest houses. There you have it. $329 at United Cellars.
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