Cate Devine

Food Writer

One of the world’s top champagne houses has chosen Scotland’s top chef Andrew Fairlie’s secret walled garden in Perthshire as the location for the launch of its new vintage.

Representatives from the House of Krug, rated by experts as the top champagne producer in the world, yesterday flew to Scotland to host an exclusive summer barbecue in the garden near Fairlie’s two Michelin starred restaurant at the Gleneagles hotel. In the rare summer sunshine Olivier Krug – great-great-great grandson of founder Joseph Krug - unveiled the limited-edition Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 2000, only the fourth vintage ever to have been released from the small pinot noir family vineyard near Reims, to a select gathering of just 16 top buyers and specialist dealers. There are only 5158 individually-numbered bottles available in the world, and they are priced at £1590 each - the equivalent of around £300 a glass - though this is likely to increase. The vintage was immediately described as "electric" by one taster.

To celebrate the launch, guests were treated to a barbecue lunch of dishes cooked by Fairlie and his head chef Stevie McLaughlin. They featured seasonal produce from Fairlie’s garden, such as smoked sea trout with parsley juice, Swiss chard and Parmesan cream, spring Perthshire lamb with Salsa verde and baby vegetables, and wild strawberries with lemon verbena crème dessert.

Krug d'Ambonnay 200 will be sold in the U.S., Hong Kong and Asia. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at the Gleneagles is one of only 10 restaurants in the UK to hold the maximum individual allocation of six bottles, in addition to the other three vintages from 1995, 1996 and 1998

He told The Herald: “Krug is the best in the world. It’s a brilliant wine and fantastic with food, a fact not a lot of people appreciate. Everyone thinks Krug rose, for example, is very delicate and feminine, but it’s not. It stands up spicy meat like our Perthshire lamb with cumin. It’s a very versatile wine. The craftsmanship in the whole process of how it is made makes it unique.

“Krug is an expensive champagne, but you’d be amazed at how many people drink it in our restaurant. We match Krug Grand Cuvee with our signature smoked lobster in our tasting menu and it’s very popular. Once you’ve tasted it you never forget it.

“We are delighted our wonderful garden has been chosen as the venue for the launch of this exceptional new vintage. Its small production reflects the size of the vineyard at Ambonnay, which is the same as our garden.

“There's a perfect synergy with what we do and what House of Krug does. It’s an honour for us.”

As he savoured the last mouthfuls of Fairlie’s wild strawberries and lemon verbena crème dessert, Monsieur Krug said: “There are many analogies between the way Andrew works and the way we work at Krug. In this wonderful garden, he grows and chooses the best ingredients that allow him, with skill, to make dishes that let the ingredients express themselves fully. Enjoying that food is a special moment and the memory of it lingers.

“For Krug Clos d’Ambonnay it is the same. We tend the vines with care, like gardeners, and then craft our Champagne, which celebrates the expression, the rare and unique character of particular Pinot Noir grapes from a tiny plot, in a particular year.

"This is the perfect marriage of French and Scottish terroirs."