Julie CavilFive questions for Krug’s cellar master.

Julie CavilFive questions for Krug’s cellar master.


Together with her team of oenologists, cellar master Julie Cavil works every day to keep the dream of Krug’s founder alive. Back in 1843, Joseph Krug set out to produce the very best Champagne he could make, every single year, no matter the climate variations. Cavil spends her time locating characterful vineyards in small valleys across the Champagne region, meeting passionate winegrowers and cultivating the house’s unique savoir faire. She’s instrumental in the annual Single Ingredient program, in which Krug asks chefs to pair its Champagne with a humble, everyday food staple.

Annick Weber: How did the idea for the Krug Single Ingredient come about? 

Julie Cavil: Krug has a very simple philosophy: One plot, one wine, one character. We turn the harvest from every vineyard into a separate wine and then pay attention to its personality before any blending decision is made. Our role is not unlike that of an orchestra conductor, putting together the best artists of Champagne to show the richness of the region in one single piece of music. The Krug Single Ingredient was launched in 2015 to pay homage to this concept of individuality, which is an important cornerstone of our craftsmanship. 

AW: You’ve put the spotlight on potatoes, eggs and, this year, rice. Why do you highlight such humble ingredients in the program?  

JC: The ingredients we choose seem simple and not at all noble, but when prepared well with expertise, patience and attention to detail, you end up with an extraordinary plate of food. Sourcing is key to our chefs; they have a whole network of producers who share the same values, supplying them with the best, most flavorful produce. In a way that’s also what Krug is all about: We put all our love and imagination into the grapes that have been grown and harvested with the utmost care by our circle of vignerons.

AW: Harvesting the grapes must be an extraordinary feat of logistics. 

JC: All our practices are noninterventionist, meaning that we have no means to mask the raw materials. The fruit we work with is everything and it needs to be picked at the right moment; that’s our one big obsession. We have 24 hours to harvest the grapes when they are at their best. Anything before that they risk being underripe, and anything after that they risk being too mature. In everything Krug does we choose excellence over logistics. Rice, in a similar way, requires very precise cooking times to get it right. 

AW: Was this part of why you chose rice as your Single Ingredient for 2022? 

JC: Yes, there are so many similarities between Champagne and the humble rice grain. If you cook rice a minute too little, it’s overly crunchy; a minute too long, it’s soggy. We also like the fact there are thousands of types of rice. In Spain, rice becomes paella, in Japan sushi, in Italy risotto. Every culture gives a different expression to this one product, just like we give different expressions to Champagne grapes. Take Chardonnay, for example. Its profile changes simply with where it was grown, from citrusy fresh notes on Côte des Blancs to buttery and rich notes on Côte de Sézanne. 

AW: Plus, rice, like Champagne, can be enjoyed from starters through to desserts. When you host guests at home, when does the Champagne come out?

JC: I like to serve Krug Collection Champagne with the after-dinner cheese course. It’s full of unexpected notes and pairs particularly well with mature hard cheeses. Living in Champagne means that you always have a bottle at the ready. 


You are reading a complimentary story from Issue 45

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