Mumm Cuvee R. Lalou 1998
Vintage from Champagne, France
The 1998 Cuvee R. Lalou is a fine, bright shade of gold that captures the light. This wine unfurls itself in a crescendo. The first impression is of elegance, though this is underpinned by an aromatic complexity that hinders close analysis of the wine with all its interlinking elements. The nose opens on fresh citrus and forthright mineral notes, possibly the hallmark of the parcels at les Bionnes and la Croix de Cramant. Soon afterwards, traces of les Crupots if not les Rochelles can be detected. The wine now shows its full complexity, with aromas of nougat, orange, white flowers and acacia honey. Accents of preserved citrus and exotic fruit, vanilla, hazelnut and praline then come to the fore. All the time, the wine seems to dance back and forth between freshness and maturity.
In the mouth, the wine is clean and lively. It remains finely balanced between structure and acidity despite its complex, generous character. The finish is sound, with a slight bitterness discernible that underlines its remarkable length.
Wine Enthusiast - "This prestige cuvée from Mumm is maturing well, although still with many years’ development left. It has a rich, toasty character, with fresh grapefruit and crisp greengages. Drink this opulent Champagne now, or keep for several years."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright yellow-gold with a strong mousse. Meyer lemon, green apple and subtle leesy nuances on the nose, with suave floral honey and green tea notes emerging with air. Medium-bodied citrus and bitter quince flavors are impressively precise, with dusty minerals adding lift and grip. Understated, brisk Champagne with excellent finishing clarity. This is Mumm's first tete de cuvee since the 1985 Lalou. "
Wine Spectator - "An elegant rendition, this has mellowed to a mix of toast, coffee, honey and mineral flavors. There's a light grain to the texture and a freshness that lifts the finish. Drink now through 2020. 200 cases imported."
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G.H. Mumm Winery
Mumm was founded in 1827, and its well-known Cordon Rouge was launched by 1875, decorated with the now-famous red ribbon of the Legion of Honor. The firm owns 540 acres of vineyards throughout the Champagne region, and is the largest company in Reims. Since its founding, the house of Mumm has been regarded as one of the most famous names in Champagne. Its Champagnes are crafted from a palette of prestigious crus with varied flavors that offer each cuvée finesse, elegance and freshness. 80% of production undergoes remuage in gyropalettes, but the cuveés de prestige are still handled manually. Mumm is the second-largest selling Champagne in the United States. View all G.H. Mumm Wines
About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.