Wine Review: Mumm (de Verzenay) Blanc de Noirs

We recently visited Mumm when in Reims and in addition to a small tour of their facility we also sampled their Blanc de Blancs and the Blanc de Noirs. Having previously reviewed the Blanc de Blancs it is also appropriate to the same with the Blanc de Noirs. I will not reiterate the story of Mumm so check the previous review for that.

The Blanc de Noirs is however much more what I would have expected from Mumm as their own production of grapes is heavy on Pinot. This specific cuvee is however not any Pinot Noir, it is made entirely from Pinot Noir from the Grand Cru village of Verzenay. The vineyard is on the north facing slopes of Montagne de Reims. It is one of the more exclusive cuvees from Mumm so quantities are somewhat limited. It spends 6 years ageing in Mumm’s cellars.

Pouring the Blanc de Noirs
Pouring the Blanc de Noirs

Having been very positively surprised by the Blanc de Blancs I had high expectations on this on as well and perhaps that was part of the issue. The first look showed a intense gold color and especially side by side with the Blanc de Blancs it was significantly darker.
The nose was powerful with nougat, dried fruit mixed with hints of coffee and vanilla. On the palate there was a mix of yellow fruits, honey, brioche and the nougat from the nose also is present here.

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The flavors are not at all unpleasant but for me it was still a bit disappointing as it did not at all match the quality of the Blanc de Blancs. This was more power and less subtle and complex flavors. I suspect it would need some food alongside it to be at its best and I could imagine it with some stronger cheese or some salty food.

It is selling for around €60 in many parts of Europe and looking at that price I do not see it as good value for money as there are many better champagnes at lower prices. So how does it rate:
Quality: 3.5
Value for money: 2.5

Wine Review: Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs

These days I seldom find much of interest at airport duty free shops but occasionally there are some real bargains to be made so if I have the time I often at least browse what they have. I stumbled across the Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs at Schiphol airport where it was sold for around €45 which to me is a really great value for money.

Mumm is one of the old champagne houses. It was officially founded in 1827 but already in 1761 the family produced wine in Cologne under the name P.A. Mumm after its owner Peter Arnold Mumm. The family also had ownership of vineyards in the Rhine valley and as they were business minded they also realized that there was a great business opportunity in the excellent sparkling wines produced in the champagne region. They then decided to establish a branch of the company in Reims in 1827. The focus was decided to be on quality with the motto of Georges Hermann Mumm “Only the best”.

Mumm’s own vineyards cover an area of nearly 218 hectares and they are Pinot Noir heavy (78% is Pinot Noir). The Pinot Noir is mainly in and around Montagne de Reims with the Grand Cru vineyards of Cramant and Avize. They do however also have vineyards dedicated to Chardonnay in the Côte des Blancs and in the Vallée de la Marne Pinot Meunier prevails.

The prevalence of Pinot Noir makes the Mumm de Cramant sort of an oddity being 100% Chardonnay. Historically it was only made for friends of the family and was sent with a folded business card. This history can still be seen in the label that has integrated the folded part in the top right of the label and an old style bottle. The wine is made from a single Grand Cru vineyard that Mumm acquired in 1882. This champagne is actually only aged for two years on the lees. The idea is to preserve the fresh, citrus flavors of the Cramant Chardonnay, before disgorgement and not to give too much away but it works. This cuvée is bottled under lower pressure than normal (4.5 atmospheres of pressure vs the normal 6) and this creates a more delicate wine with tiny bubbles that sort of melt in the mouth.

The color is pale yellow and it has a wonderful aroma of brioche, lemon, fresh fruit and white flowers. The palate is creamy with fine texture and a pleasant acidity. The aromas present in the nose are also present in the flavor but there are also hints of almond, ginger and pleasant mineral note to it. A really excellent Blanc de blancs and to me by far the best that I have sampled from Mumm. Actually I have not been that impressed by what Mumm has produced in Champagne, I have even preferred Mumm Napa above the champagnes but this really changes all that.

For me it deserves a 4.5 in quality rating and when I bought it at €45 it deserves a 5 in value for money. That is perhaps not entirely fair as it was a sale on and normal price would between €70-90 (in Sweden it would cost 799 SEK approximately €85-90) and at that price the value for money rating would more be like 4. I am however glad I managed to pick up two bottles and will have a look next time I pass through Schiphol.

Wineweek 15

Let it be Sunday! Not my favorite day of the week (because there is seldom wine on Sundays), but a day for relaxation and looking back on all the wine-action during the week. We are now back in business, making calls, filling in forms and planning our next order window. If everything goes well, it will not be the Easter-bunny knocking on your door in the beginning of April, it will be the nice man/woman from Jet pack delivering your Llagrima d’Or.

So what else have we been doing (except for working) this week. We had some nice Riesling on Monday. The bottle of Emrich-Schönleber had been started with the Coravin in the summer, and now was opened to find no traces of oxidation what so ever. As I have said before, the Coravin is one of our best purchases ever. I really hope it is introduced to more restaurants as it opens up completely new possibilities for wine by the glass.

We also visited a new wine bar in Stockholm, Hornstull’s Bodega. We have been meaning to go for a while, but Christmas hassle included, we have been quite busy the past two months. The place was a nice addition to the Stockholm wine-scene. The concept reminds me a bit of José (review here) with a no reservation policy, focus on wine by the glass and a decent selection of Spanish inspired bar food. We had a good time, so you can be sure that a review will follow.

M also made a great find at Amsterdam airport. He came home with two bottles of Mumm de Cramant that he picked up from a sale for just 45€ (!!) a bottle. I would say that 45€ for a Champagne is perhaps not cheap cheap, but for a Blanc de Blanc Champagne made solely from grapes from the village of Cramant, classified 100% Grand Cru, not a bad deal! We had one of the bottles Saturday night and it was lovely (and well worth the 45€).

That was about it for the week. Next Sunday we will be reporting from the beautiful Douro Valley in Portugal.