Krug vs. Cristal: Which Luxury Champagne Should You Choose?

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Both Krug and Louis Roederer Cristal are among the best luxury Champagnes, however, some wine enthusiasts prefer one over the other.

Both Krug and Louis Roederer Cristal are among the best luxury Champagnes, however, some wine enthusiasts prefer one over the other.

If you were to ask a wine expert what the best luxury Champagne is, chances are vintage Krug and Louis Roederer Cristal would rank high on that list. Both of these wines are elegant, age-worthy, and valuable, making them ideal investments for anyone interested in collecting the finest Champagne. However, you may be wondering which of these wines is truly the best. Is it vintage Krug, with its long aging potential and prestige in the eyes of Champagne connoisseurs? Or does Cristal take the crown, with its exceptional rarity and iconic place in popular culture? Collectors have different reasons for choosing either vintage Krug or Cristal based on their drinking preferences and what they hope to get out of their collections. In this guide, you’ll learn which wine label might be the best choice for your own collection, whether you plan on drinking your wine or adding the most valuable bottle to your investment portfolio.

Why You Might Invest in Krug Vintage Champagne

All fine Champagne is produced with the utmost care, yet Krug uses one of the most labor-intensive winemaking processes in the world–even when compared with other lauded Champagne houses. Starting with the grapes themselves, Krug only grows about 40 percent of the fruit in its own vineyards; the rest is outsourced from many dozens of the finest plots across Champagne. Since every plot has its own distinctive terroir, Krug is able to fully control which characteristics go into the blend. Before blending, Krug ferments each of these batches separately in exclusively old oak casks, a painstaking process. In fact, Krug is the only major Champagne house still using this technique. The old oak doesn’t impart much, if any, flavor to the wine, allowing the purity of the fruit to shine. From here, Krug waits patiently for the wine to ferment on its own, never inducing malolactic fermentation artificially. Winemakers then taste each cask and accept only the finest results for the final blend.

When you drink a fine vintage Krug, you are tasting a blend of the very best grapes grown across Champagne that year, the ones hand-selected to impress. Even the house’s Grande Cuvée label is of exceptional quality despite its nonvintage status. To make this wine every year, Krug enlists a skilled committee to sample 7,000 different, unblended wine batches the house has in storage from past vintages. Over the course of five months, the committee decides precisely which wines should be blended to create a Grande Cuvée consistent with the iconic Krug style.

While Krug’s attention to detail is second to none, there are many other reasons why it ranks among the best luxury Champagne on the market. If you’re wondering whether a Krug investment is right for your cellar, take a look at the chart below, which lists some of the most important facts you should know about this legendary house:

House Style Average Price  Aging Potential Projected Value
  • Oxidative style (undergoes malolactic fermentation)
  • Malolactic fermentation gives it a sweet, round, and toasted characteristic
  • Often tastes complex and nutty, especially with age
  • $450 per bottle for vintage Krug
  • $220 per bottle for the Grande Cuvée
Krug ages its vintage wines for at least ten years before release, so they are ready to drink immediately. However, many collectors age the wine for an additional ten or 20 years, sometimes more. Vintage Krug increases steadily in value over time, especially within the first year of release. Upon release in 2021, the 2008 Krug vintage sold for an average of $3,626 per case, and within a week the average price jumped to $4,707 per case (a $90 increase per bottle)

Generally speaking, vintage Krug is the best luxury Champagne for wine enthusiasts who enjoy rich, toasted flavors in their wines. This is also a great wine to select if you’re going to be throwing a party soon, as the wine doesn’t require any additional aging before it can be enjoyed and it pairs well with a variety of foods.

However, if you don’t plan on drinking every bottle of wine in your Champagne collection, or you’re exclusively looking for the most investment-worthy bottle, Krug is still an excellent choice. These wines hold their value and often increase significantly in price over time, especially in the weeks and months following a new release. There’s a reason why so many experienced Champagne enthusiasts have at least one bottle of Krug in their cellars. That said, Louis Roederer Cristal is also a contender for the best luxury Champagne, and is worth considering before you make a decision.

The Benefits of Investing in Louis Roederer Cristal

Louis Roederer Cristal is perhaps one of the most recognizable bottles in the wine world. The iconic gold foil label is synonymous with luxury. However, beyond looks, Cristal is also one of the highest quality wines in Champagne. The first of these wines were custom crafted for Russian Tsar Alexander II in 1867, and it continues to be served at extravagant events to this day.

Part of the appeal of this wine among collectors is its rarity, and like Krug, Cristal undergoes an extensive and meticulous winemaking process. Louis Roederer makes Cristal from a blend of grapes grown in seven grand cru regions of Champagne, and from 45 individual plots, all of which must have vines that are at least 25 years old. Every year, winemakers test the quality of the grapes to determine if they’re worthy of making Cristal. Sometimes years will go by without a new Cristal vintage if winemakers feel the grapes cannot meet their high standards. Unlike Krug, which ages all of its wine in old oak casks, Louis Roederer only ages a maximum of 30 percent of its Cristal wine in oak. From here, Cristal is aged for at least six years and held for an additional eight months after it’s disgorged.

Since the wine is not produced every year, demand for bottles is often quite high. Even in years when a vintage is produced, the house only releases between 300,000 to 400,000 bottles. So, if you’re looking for one of the rarest Champagnes on the luxury wine market, Cristal is an excellent option. Here are a few other facts about Cristal you may need to know before you invest:

House Style Average Price  Aging Potential Projected Value
  • Reductive style (rarely undergoes malolactic fermentation)
  • Minimal exposure to oxygen allows the wine to retain vibrant acidity
  • Often tastes quite acidic and citrusy in its youth, then becomes richer and more honeyed with age
  • $295 per bottle (often more for special edition wines or vintages of exceptional quality)
Cristal is less approachable in its youth compared to Krug, and is meant to be aged for a minimum of ten years, often more Cristal is one of the most profitable wines on the market. In early 2020, the 2008 Cristal vintage was priced at about $240 per bottle, on average, and one year later, the vintage was worth $355 on average (a $115 increase per bottle).

Overall, Louis Roederer Cristal is the best luxury Champagne for people who prefer more acidity in their wine and who don’t mind waiting for their bottles to mature. If you’re looking for a wine to drink right away, consider buying high-quality older Cristal vintages or selecting a vintage bottle of Krug instead.

If you don’t wish to drink the wine in your collection and would rather resell your bottles, Cristal is a great option for investors because it consistently outperforms most other wines on the secondary market – not just Champagne. Cristal is also known to drive the prices for all Champagne up in the years following a new release, so it is an all-around market titan.

Which is the Best Luxury Champagne?

If both of these wines sound promising to you, or you’re still unsure which is truly the best luxury Champagne, there are a few more steps you can take to make your final decision. First, consider the goals you have for your luxury Champagne collection. Are you hoping to find a few of the finest bottles of wine to serve at an event, or enjoy over an anniversary dinner, or give to a loved one as a special present? If so, Krug is likely the best Champagne for your needs. Aged Cristal is also an option, however, these bottles can be more difficult to find. If you wish to invest in Krug, here are a few bottles you should secure right now:

If, on the other hand, your wine collection is an investment and you want to resell your wine for a significant return a decade or two from now, then Louis Roederer Cristal is the preferred choice over Krug in most cases. These wines are designed to age and demand for them has not waned since the first vintages were released to the public in the 1940s. Of course, vintage Krug is also valuable. As an investor, you can’t go wrong with either option. To invest in Cristal now, consider these vintages:

Another option is to get personalized advice from a Champagne expert. When you work with Vinfolio’s private client specialists, an expert will offer you recommendations on the best luxury Champagne to invest in based on your budget, goals, and current portfolio. Or, if you’re focused on investments, you can hire Vinfolio to manage your portfolio of wines. Your portfolio will include a diverse collection of blue-chip wines, including quality Champagne vintages from traditionally high-performing producers. While both Krug and Cristal are synonymous with luxury, the experts will guide you to the top-traded vintages that will have the greatest impact.

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