This New Year’s Eve: Mumm’s The Word

It’s New Year’s Eve! Here are a couple of sparkling wine recommendations. Mumm Napa, the California branch of the G.H. Mumm Champagne house, has three good options. As a general observation, Mumm’s winemaking objective seems to be to exploit the abundant fruit in California grape harvests when they develop their house style. This is in contrast with the cool climate harvests typical of Champagne, France’s northernmost major wine making region which produce a less fruity wine.

Prices below are approximate. The tasting notes are mine and prices below are approximate.

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($20) is a blend of roughly equal proportions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some 50 vineyard sites in Napa Valley. This wine was aged 18 months on the yeast in the bottle after secondary fermentation and then disgorged (a process that involves removing the collected yeast and other sediment from the bottle). This wine is crisp, as one would expect from a sparkling wine classified as brut, but also has complex fruit aromas.

Mumm Napa Brut Rosé ($24) is 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay. The high proportion of Pinot Noir affects not just the color but also the feel in the mouth. This wine is wonderfully robust and exhibits an aroma of red and black fruits.

Mumm Cuvée M ($20). When a producer attaches a proprietary name (such as Cuvée M) to a wine it usually means that it represents an attempt to create a particular house style. With this wine, Mumm Napa have created a slightly sweeter wine than the brut styles referred to above. Technically, this wine is a sec (dry). In the mouth you would have to compare it with a brut to immediately notice the difference but after a few mouthfuls the sweetness comes through. This wine has late-harvest Muscat and Pinot Noir added to the final blend to enhance the fruit flavors in the final wine.