Today’s Spotlight interview is with Margareth (Maggie) Henriquez the first Hispanic woman to head up the House of Krug as President and CEO. Passionate and dynamic with all that she takes on Henriquez has spent more than two decades of her professional career as President and/or CEO of multinational companies in Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, and now in France.
A Harvard graduate renowned for developing and implementing strategies to manage companies in difficult contexts and circumstances; Henriquez was brought on board at Krug to share with the world the vision of ultimate luxury. I’ve had the pleasure of having lunch with Maggie twice and without fail her exuberance, ardour and professionalism for Krug is second to none. A fascinating woman with stories and knowledge of Champagne and the House of Krug captivates experts as well as novices.
The Champagne House of Krug has been built on history and tradition dating back to 1848. Joseph Krug set forth the founding ideology of the House by penning every detail of the wine in a deep cherry-red notebook. The representation of the notebook acts as a historical reference as well as a legacy to Krug’s family and to Champagne itself. As a token gift, a symbolic notebook is presented to guests at Krug’s historic home in Reims France as a reminder of deeply rooted methods and vision of luxury. To truly understand and appreciate the world of Champagne would take years of study and tastings. Today Maggie Henriquez shares her beloved Krug with us in a simplified manner making the history and the future of this luxury brand understandable for all. This week’s spotlight shines on Margareth Henriquez, President and CEO of Krug.
South Florida Food and Wine: Tell us about your position at The House of Krug [Champagne].
Margareth Henriquez: I am the president and CEO of the House of Krug. I am responsible for defining and maintaining the luxury vision of the House and I make sure that every member of the team responds to and contributes to this vision; beginning with the winemaking team, I see that all necessary support is given to guarantee continuity and to keep our quest for perfection set forth by the founder; beyond winemaking perfection, pleasure and passion is always our guiding force. We want to make the world of hedonism, life lovers, epicureans, life explorers and exceptional pleasure seekers discover Krug by inviting them to experience our timeless and unforgettable product.
South Florida Food and Wine: Tell us about the luxury brand classification of Krug Champagne
Margareth Henriquez: Krug is without any doubt the first luxury house in Champagne. Krug was founded with a vision of undisputed quality, pleasure and a total sense of freedom. Joseph Krug, the founder did not do as anyone else; he just decided to do differently, to go beyond the existing boundaries. Krug is rare by being the ultimate in craftsmanship and it is totally attached to aesthetics inside and outside the bottle. These thin bubbles are so elegant and so respectful of Champagne and of pleasure. The fact that the House was thought to create all Champagnes at the same level of quality, all at the highest level, which the founder clearly wrote in his little personal notebook in 1848 together with all the other characteristics, makes this house as the first and only House that creates only prestige cuvees every year since 1843. This is luxury and the true luxury is the relationship with the clients, the emotional ties Krug lovers have with its Champagne and how much we appreciate them. The permanent wording of deep happiness and authentic pleasure expressed around Krug is the real evidence of luxury which confirms that for this House pleasure goes beyond perfection and this is authentic luxury.
South Florida Food and Wine: Tell us about the different styles within the Krug portfolio.
Margareth Henriquez: Krug was born based on the fact that Champagne is pleasure and Joseph Krug, our founder did not want to wait for a good year to make a great Champagne. He then, by establishing a very large reserve wine library of very many years, created the signature of the House. A prestige Cuvee that is a timeless character, the most generous expression of Champagne, a Champagne that did not exist elsewhere and that does not exist elsewhere the house. This is Krug Grande Cuvee. We also have Krug vintages, which, as written by Joseph Krug in 1848, are the expression of the year captured by Krug. The house has as many stories as vintages we have.
Currently we have the Krug 1998 and Krug 2000. We keep two vintages in the market to have people discover that they are different, the Krug Grande Cuvee is a consistent ultimate pleasure proposition in Champagne.
The Krug Rose is sensual and daring and at the same time, very unexpected and extremely elegant.
The Krug Clos du Mesnil 2000, a soloist, the purest expression of Chardonnay from Krug’s Clos du Mesnil in the year 2000 and Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1998, also another soloist from also a small walled plot, the purest expression of Pinot Noir from Ambonnay, known village in Champagne for its excellent Pinot Noir and the most important source of grapes to the House since its foundation.
We also have the Krug Collection, which are some bottles of old vintages kept in the House for over a decade after having been presented. The Krug Collection is evidence of the high capacity of ageing of Krug Champagnes that is a key signal of quality. Seven Krug Champagnes are available in the market, all different expressions, all prestige cuvees and they all have placed Krug as the best rated house of Champagne for years.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your most memorable wine moment to date?
Margareth Henriquez: It was a white truffle menu in a very nice restaurant in Paris far before I knew I would one day head up Krug. My boyfriend, today my husband, ordered a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee. It has been the most amazing, fabulous and memorable wine (Champagne) experience I have ever had in my life.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most challenging thing about your position as President and CEO of Krug?
Margareth Henriquez: For over two years we have been working to recover the history of the house and its founder. We understand why the reason the house exists and our Champagnes today have a beautiful message that goes along with it. Having this message spread and having Krug known as the ultimate pleasure experience in Champagne with the universe that goes with it, is my most significant challenge as a president and CEO of Krug.
South Florida Food and Wine: If you can choose, which style of Krug is your go-to wine?
Margareth Henriquez: Without any doubt my preferred is the Krug Grande Cuvee. It is absolutely magic and it goes with everything, as it is so rich and so generous, it will always be able to accompany so many things, it makes any moment a real moment of deep happiness and ultimate pleasure.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would love to share a bottle of Krug with and why?
Margareth Henriquez: I have admired Meryl Streep for a long time. I have always loved her level of excellence and her authenticity. When you asked me the question I thought I would love to share a bottle with Meryl; I think she is a Krug lover and I am sure it could be a very beautiful, unique and memorable experience to share a bottle with her.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final quaff and final meal be?
Margareth Henriquez: I will repeat that fabulous white truffle menu and Krug Grande Cuvee.
South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at and did you order a bottle of Krug?
Margareth Henriquez: It was Le Cinq, in George V(Four Seasons) hotel in Paris, one of the best tables in France and yes we ordered one bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee.
South Florida Food and Wine: Other than Krug, what is your quaff of choice?
Margareth Henriquez: I love the wines of Egon Muller, they are all fabulous, he, like Krug, is also an example of genius simplicity, a quest for perfection for ultimate pleasure in wines real simple!
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