Krug CEO: Drinking Champagne with flutes is like going to a concert with ear plugs

If you are drinking Champagne out of a flute, then you are doing it all wrong, according to Maggie Henriquez, CEO and president of Krug, who compares it to “going to a concert with ear plugs”.

Speaking to dbHK before the official launch of Krug 2004 in Hong Kong this week, the Champagne house’s CEO, Maggie Henriquez, adamantly protested against the use of Champagne flutes, which she says will only diminish the whole experience.

“You don’t use flutes. You see, using a flute is like going to a concert with ear plugs because it will not let you enjoy what is inside, because a good Champagne before anything is a good wine. This is the first line in the little book of the founder [Joseph Krug],” she stressed, “Flutes are for bad champagne, sorbet or gazpacho, but not to drink Champagne.”

This was a point that the executive and the luxury Champagne house felt pertinent enough to note in the Krug ID, an identification system that Henriquez, an engineer by training, launched in 2011. Since then each bottle of Krug including its Grand Cuvée and vintage Champagne has a unique ID that allows buyers to track the wine’s growing and harvesting seasons, storing and service suggestions as well as food and music pairing.

The 2004 vintage of Krug was launched in Hong Kong on 6 September. The wine is made from 39% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir and 24% Meunier, an usual blend as it normally uses more Pinot.

For the 2004 vintage, which was named “Luminous Freshness,” the house chose to release the prestigious cuvée in Hong Kong and London on the same day, two of what Henriquez calls “vintage markets,” where buyers are more interested in knowing the year and vintage, compared to the house’s Grand Cuvée.

Currently ranked as Krug’s fifth largest export market and the second biggest market for the house after Japan, Hong Kong has been growing each year. However, for mainland China, the top executive remains cautious about expanding its reach into the market, despite its massive potential.

“We are very cautious, consciously, of getting into mainland China. So you know, I would not do it, but someone else might,” she commented. On the other hand, she added that due to Hong Kong and mainland’s close proximity, Hong Kong serves as “a door” to the vast market.

Asked about the recent court case brought by Moët Hennessy against auction house Acker Merrall & Condit involving a bottle of Krug Collection 1947, the charismatic executive, who is known her ability to weather a storm, did not mince her words in denouncing fraud.

“Moet Hennessy is always protecting our brand, and we always do what we have to do to make sure that whatever the consumers buy, whether it’s Krug or Dom Pérignon, or products from the whole group, it is the correct one. This is all the time, and I love it,” she proclaimed resolutely.

“People spent a fortune, and they put it in the cellar thinking the bottle is authentic. When it is proved otherwise, this has to be punished”.

21 Responses to “Krug CEO: Drinking Champagne with flutes is like going to a concert with ear plugs”

  1. Dirk-Antoon Samyn says:

    Good article – except – in which glass then has the Champagne to be enjoyed? No clue here! And, on the photo of the 2004, isn’t this also called a’ flute’??
    Thanks for a reply

  2. Thanks for the explanation about the glass in the photo. Such a pity the correct (for Krug’s CEO) glass was not defined. Is it time to bring out my champagne saucer glasses from the antiques cupboard?

  3. Bob says:

    I disagree with the premise. But that’s me. I occasionally will drink Champagne out of a wine glass, if that’s what it’s being poured in, but if I have a choice, I use a flute.

    • BigBob says:

      Adapting to new information isn’t your strong suit I gather.

    • Albert says:

      Why would you drink it out of a flute when it doesn’t collect and capture the aromas that really bring about the power that makes up the nose of Krug and other lovely champagnes?

      Always drink quality champagne from a white wine glass (or if you have access to one, the Krug-designed tulip style glass as pictured above). Anything else and you’re doing it wrong.

  4. Maggie, during the course in Fine and Rare wines Coburg Palais in Vienna for group was tasting the champagne wines from Burgundy glasses – what do you think about this? Personally, I noted this kind of tasting was good for an expert overview.
    I”ll appreciate your comments on this.

    • Michael Tschuertz says:

      not maggie, but a fellow Austrian. I really like the Burgundy for Grand Cuvée and some aged Champagnes, for most others like Krug Vintage I find the white wine glass “better”, then again I am also a person that opens his aged Champagne bottles hours or even a day before.

  5. Andrew says:

    Flutes concentrate effervescence. It’s like in cooking school my chef taught me to use the smallest pan or pot possible when making a dish. The flavor is concentrated, no room to escape. Same rule applies.

    • Michael Tschuertz says:

      diagree. high quality stuff really like white wine or when older sometimes even burgundy glasses, also open that Dom P 1969 a few hours before and dont drink it too cold.

  6. femmefan1946 says:

    So, I’m the only one who uses a straw?

  7. Jim Mousse says:

    The Champagne works for us…not us for her…drink her in and enjoy the moment!

  8. Julien PEPIN LEHALLEUR says:

    Why don’t you try drinking the same Champagne with a flute next to a White wine glass and feel the difference? Nothing is better than your own experience. No one should dictate your emotions when it comes to drinking this kind of perfection! True not only for Krug but for any kind of great Champagne by the way…
    In the same vein, try drinking red wine in a plastic cup then in a red wine crystal glass and see if there is a difference… ah ah!
    PS: and I would add, be careful with temperature, straight out of the fridge is a non-sense, Krug states btw 9 to 12 °C, totally agree. Let it warm up in your glass, if you are patient enough. They wre at Krug by leting it rest 7 years in the cellar…
    Thanks Maggie, please continue your crusade !!

  9. Kevin Brady says:

    Krug would never last long enough for me to quibble about the vessel!

  10. I respectfully disagree with Madame Henriquez. I’ve always enjoyed fine Champagne in a flute. But in recent years I’ve taken to heart the advice to drink it in a glass like the one shown in the photo. Having tried it several times, with excellent Champagne, I’ve decided that I prefer the flute. Everyone’s taste is different.

    One thing I will push back on is the rather black and white rule on how one should drink wine. To say, “You’re doing it all wrong” is turning a preference into a diktat.

  11. Susan Barfoot says:

    So have I waisted my money investing in WAterford Crystal MillenniumCollection champagne flutes – not exactly flutes shaped more triangular?

  12. Fernando Cruz says:

    I started enjoying champagme with the type of glass mr. James Bond (Roger Moore) use to drink vodka martini on his first movie, and I love it.

  13. Robin Chua says:

    how was tasting champagne from a burgundy glass? Did it really taste better?

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