Sunday, November 18, 2007
Mumm Napa Sparkles
Mumm Napa is located on the Silverado Trail to the east of the hustle and bustle of Route 29. It was the perfect stop during our recent California trip to mark my 47th birthday.
We went on a group tour of the facility, which was interesting and showed the sheer size of Mumm's operations in California. Built in 1986, it was one of the more modern wineries we visited and it also had a variety of features that make a stop a must when you are in wine country. The tour area gives you a birds eye view of the production floor, including the 65,000 gallon blending tank. The tour ends in a gallery showcasing some stunning photography, including works by Ansel Adams.
The tasting room has one of the best views of any winery. Glass doors open to the vineyards and you can look across the valley while enjoying sparkling wine.
We were hosted for our tasting by Hank Beech, who was both charming and informative about the wine. Glasses filled our table as we got an appreciation for the range of sparkling wines Mumm is turning out in Napa.
Too many people treat sparkling wine like pilsner beer, looking at it as fairly one dimensional. They may favor one producer over another, but they don't recognize why. Part of the problem is that they enjoy sparkling wine in a limited way, often just for special occasions. Part of it is that sparkling wine makers, especially Champagne makers, tend to use terms on bottles that are not easy to figure out: Brut, Demi Sec, blanc de blanc, blanc de noirs, etc. It is acceptable to ask for a glass of Champagne (even if what you are drinking is cava or prosecco), but no one would just ask a wait person for a glass of wine without at least specifying white or red.
We enjoyed several of the sparkling wines poured for us at Mumm. Among our favorites were:
Mumm Napa Blanc de Noirs: This non-vintage sparkler is a light pink salmon color and has a good balance between the berry hints of the fruit and the acidity.
Mumm Cuvee M Red: This sparkling wine is 97 percent pinot noir and 3 percent syrah and sold only at the winery or through the Mumm website. It’s bright red color is a perfect change of pace. Just a slight touch of sweetness with a cherry note. We brought back three bottles of this wine for Thanksgiving at our Daughter and Son-in-Law's home.
2000 DVX: This sparkler honors Guy Devaux, the late winemaker who spearheaded Mumm's development in California. This is a golden straw color, with hints of apple, apricot and strawberry. A great wine to start or finish an evening.