Mumm’s the Word

20 May

Mumm Napa terrace

I have a confession: I used to be a red wine snob.   Many years ago, after “graduating” from cheap rosé’s and sweet german whites, I discovered the interesting complexity of reds, and for years would drink a Cabernet Sauvignon with every type of food.   Fortunately, in recent years I’ve found how much more enjoyable wine can be when paired appropriately with food.  Still, I was never drawn to sparkling wines.  Until now.

Most of the wineries my wife, Arla, and I have explored in Napa and Sonoma produce big, tannic reds.  Traditionally, my kind of wines.    Our recent trip to Mumm Napa, in Rutherford, was (I thought) more for Arla than for me.  I was surprised  and delighted;  the afternoon we spent there tasting nicely aged sparkling wines (many of which are only available for purchase from the winery), browsing through the art galleries, and enjoying the amazing views of Napa Valley from the terrace, was one of the most enjoyable afternoons I’ve spent in wine country.

In 1979, the legendary French Champagne house of G.H. Mumm began a quest to find the ideal wine growing area in the U.S. for creating wine from traditional Champagne grapes – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – and using the traditional méthode champenoise.  After several years of searching, that ideal  terroir was found and Mumm Napa was established.  Mumm Napa sources Chardonnay grapes from the cool southern Carneros region and Pinot Noir grapes along the Napa River in the middle valley.   The cool nights and hot days result in lush and tropical Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir with bright berry concentrations.

On the terrace overlooking Napa valley, Arla and I sat down to sample some wines after touring the art galleries featuring photography by Ansel Adams.  Arla selected the tasting flight of Mumm Napa Classics for $18, including Brut Prestige, Brut Rose (A 90+ rated bubbly) and Cuvee M.  These were beautiful, light and fruity wines with a light creaminess that balanced the natural acidity.

I chose the Staff Favorites (Winery Exclusives) flight for $22, which comprised the Devaux Ranch 2008, Brut Reserve and DVX 2005.  As a bonus, our server provided us a glass of their exclusive sparkling Pinot Noir.  These selections were fantastic!  The DVX 2005 had a fruit-forward nose with a subtle biscuit flavor that was unlike any sparkling wine I’ve had.  The sparkling Pinot was even better.  This wine , like a traditional Pinot Noir, is fermented with the skins before it is then processed in the traditional method for sparkling wine.   The wine was a refreshing combination of a fruity pinot noir and a sparkling rose.  I now have a new favorite for summer afternoons and barbecue!

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One Response to “Mumm’s the Word”

  1. Julie May 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Wonderful descriptions! Your article makes me thirsty for the wines and the views.

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