Mumm knows best with new Champagne releases

Didier Mariotti (Photo: Champagne G.H. Mumm)

Champagne house G.H. Mumm has done something rather shocking. It’s released not just one but four new wines in one stroke, and there’s a fifth on the way. To further complicate matters, one of them is a re-branding of an existing wine: the Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage. This is being re-released as a vintage wine.

“It’s always been a non-declared single-vintage anyway,” says winemaker Didier Mariotti.

First, there are two RSRV wines (a short-hand for ‘reserve’, it seems): 2012 RSRV Grand Cru Blancs de Blancs (100% chardonnay from Cramant; it would retail for AUD $225 but has been earmarked for restaurants), and 2008 RSRV Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs (100% pinot noir from Verzenay; AUD $240 theoretical retail price). These are very good, but the blanc de noirs is my favourite because if its richness and matured complexity. The blanc de blancs is still very tight, lean, restrained and singular: the classic ‘solo violin’ as opposed to the ‘full orchestra’, which would be a typical Champagne blend of regions and grape varieties. When I opined that the wine seemed a little young to be released, Didier disagreed, saying its shorter ageing was “to keep the spirit of the wine”.

Next, there are two Edition Limitée wines. These are non-vintage blends, which have been given extended time aging on their yeast sediments. Edition Limitée 4 Ans en Cave (four years in the cellar; AUD $80 retail; exclusive to Dan Murphy’s) has a lot of brioche-like aromas and is soft and rounded and highly accessible; Edition Limitée 6 Ans en Cave (AUD $95; exclusive to BWS stores) has terrific richness, generosity and character. Didier says these are different blends, both with about 70% pinot noir and the rest chardonnay, no meunier, plus some reserve wines. They are a significant step up from the Cordon Rouge and are sourced from higher-rated vineyards.

Those four are the new releases; they will be joined by a rosé in a few months.

Importer Pernod-Ricard also showed off the new Mumm vintage, the 2008 Le Millésime (AUD $99), which is a cracking wine and terrific value when you compare the wine and the price with the regular Cordon Rouge non-vintage (retailing anywhere between AUD $80 and AUD $50!). And finally, Mumm’s deluxe cuvée, the 2002 Cuvée R. Lalou (AUD $399), which is quite simply an exquisite Champagne.

NB: All Mumm Champagnes come with a Diam/Mytik cork in the Australian market. These corks are guaranteed by their maker to be free of TCA taint. Says Mariotti:

“Australia was our first market to go 100% Mytik.”

He evidently approves.

2 thoughts on “Mumm knows best with new Champagne releases”

  1. Leigh W Dryden says:

    Huon interesting to see the notion of limited release and aging with their Champagnes as it sort of goes against many of the tradtional practices and constructions of what Champagne is. The question I have as does this not continue to befuddle the average wine lover as we all know that champagne is one of the most complex wines in the world for a whole range of reaons. Are we now moving from the concept of Non Vintage to Limited Edition? Sounds more like a marketing ploy as opposed to the theoritical development of Champagne as a wine, a re- badge as opposed to an innovation or step change. Just a thought but would love to know what you think?

    1. Huon Hooke
      Huon Hooke says:

      It’s not a first time for a limited-edition NV Champagne, but perhaps it does risk confusing the average drinker. It seems to be part of a general trend towards releasing small volumes of interesting wines, whether they be single-vineyard Yarra Valley pinots or sub-regional Barossa shirazes. I suspect producers do it to attract interest, in a world of spoilt-for-choice consumers bored by annual releases of the same old wines. The positive is, it all adds to the rich tapestry!

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