BestChampagne had the pleasure of conducting an interview with the President and CEO of Krug – the ever enchanting Margaret “Maggie” Henriquez. Before heading one of the most prestigious Champagne Houses, the Venezuelan Harward graduate was President and CEO of a number multinational companies in Venezuela, Mexico and Argentina.
Maggie Henriquez was appointed President of Krug in 2008
BestChampagne: How have you come to arrive to the presidency of such a prestigious Champagne House?
Margaret Henriquez: I have a long career in the Wines & Spirits business since 1982. Out of my 33 years of experience, started in 1978, (not so young now!), 26 have been in this area.
From 2001 to end of 2008 I was in charge of all the properties of Moet Hennessy in Argentina and this was exactly the time when the industry there turned around elaborating much better wines.
I was at the head of leading wineries and took my time to learn and get very involved with winemaking and sparkling winemaking to be able to take my place.
Meanhwile I was at the head of the distribution of all our Moet Hennessy brands therefore I knew them all quite well.
At the same time a new opportunity was opened at the House of Krug and the president of the wines & spirits division of LVMH, Christophe Navarre at the end of 2008 proposed to me leading this challenging, exciting, unique and beautiful house – it did not take me too long to say yes!
BC: What is Champagne for you?
ME: I would like to insist in good or great champagnes. They are my preferred drink, I have always loved champagne above all other wines and sprits, because it is the most joyful expression of wine, it is freshness, persistence, velvet sensation, sharing, dreamful and very vital.
When they are great, as the ones I love, you can really be transported to a different dimension. The combination of great wines and fine bubbles is magic, seductive, gentle and extremely elegant. It can be more than an instant of pleasure a source of happiness!
BC: What makes Krug so special?
ME: Is the way Krug lovers refer to this house – their comments and ways of expressing Krug is what makes this house so special.
This is for sure the result of six generations that perpetuated the vision of its founder, a man very sensitive to his clients.
In 1843 he founded this house and was willing to make it the best champagne house in the world. He wanted to create champagnes beyond all existing ones in the market during those days.
He even wrote in a personal notebook in 1848 how this house should be and his idea was to create the richest and most elegant champagne every year, which will be absolutely consistent in the very high quality.
And to do so, we would need to blend wines of very many years to achieve richness and long ageing in the cellars to achieve the elegance he envisioned.
He was clear that champagne is about pleasure and he wanted his clients to always find the same unique outstanding taste every time they would have a Krug Number One – this is the number he gave to this proposition in his personal notebook- champagne.
He thought about this champagne for clients who would be more interested in the signature of the house than in the date of birth of the champagne; and for those who would be interested in the date of birth he proposed a champagne of the year.
Only in those years that have a story to tell. But then as full consistency is in our signature, the house has total freedom to tell the story of the year through the vintage champagne, meaning that in the house of Krug every vintage when elaborated, is totally different to each other.
This dual proposal, thought to give the maximum emotions to both pleasure seekers with Krug Grande Cuvee and to amateurs or connoisseurs with Krug Vintage.
With no hierarchy in its champagnes, it is absolutely unique, and there is no other house that proposes only prestige cuvées in the way Krug does.
In addition, during the last 40 years, a Rosé was created under the same philosophy of Krug Grande Cuvee, very different to other Rosés – very Krug before being Rosé; and the two Clos, Krug Clos du Mesnil and Krug Clos d’Ambonnay amazing expressions of our main source of differentiation -following every single parcel individually, never blending before the blending time and thus completing the portfolio of champagnes of this special house.
The house that one day was created with its potential clients in mind today is special due to them!
BC: What did Krug want to achieve with the master class with such special cuvées?
ME: It was a great occasion to share with a group of fantastic people our vision, our discipline, our philosophy but specially our champagnes that are the true expression of all we say.
Instead of saying “walk the talk” we could say at Krug “drink the talk” as this house is very oriented to excellence, very deeply rooted in an obsession for details with a real passion for its uniqueness.
It was an opportunity to show how Krug is respectful to expressing every year when tasting the decade of the 90s in Krug Clos du Mesnil to understand how the same parcel would express itself in different years, and also to show all the Krug vintages’ different expressions of the different years.
We also let people feel that Krug Grande Cuvée is not the entry champagne at Krug, but the reason of existence, as everything happens in the house around it.
The richest and most elegant expression in champagne and the signature of the house for which 150 wines of reserve of 10 different years of a range of 15 years are kept in little special tanks in our cellars preserving all aromas and flavours of different years to the service of Krug Grande Cuvée creation.
We celebrate having had this sharing special opportunity.
BC: On what occasion should you open a bottle of Clos de Mesnil or Krug Vintage?
ME: Whenever you decide to drink them is fine, my theory is that the best champagne or wine is the one you like and gives you pleasure and it is the same for occasions or moments.
But for me, I would imagine that Krug Clos du Mesnil should be for a discovery moment among more people or for a very intense intimate occasion among less.
It should be a moment for discovering intensity among very special friends or an intense gastronomic experience among less.
Krug Vintage could find more spaces on a side but similar on the discovery mood.
I always imagine not very large groups and more likely amateurs tasting beautiful year expressions – very engaged expressions of the year only as Krug can be.
Krug Vintage with its very Krug style could be compared to other great vintages of different houses and styles but what is extremely unique in this house is Krug Grande Cuvée, a beyond vintages expression that does not exist in Champagne.
BC: What do you want our readers at BestChampagne to understand about Krug, and what advice would you give to them in order to enjoy Krug to the fullest?
ME: That Krug was created to be the best, to be beyond all existing propositions those days and still continues to be unique; that Krug is really the “Haute Couture” in champagne and that our Krug lovers have been and are always at the centre of our house, as the house was created to please them, by being different and outstanding.
And we, in a very humble way, continue to be committed to this vision.
I am sure that tasting Krug champagnes will for sure be an unforgettable moment, a memorable experience. It is worth creating the occasion.
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