In 1979, the French Champagne house of G.H. Mumm began seriously looking at winegrowing areas in the U.S. The idea was to expand its business and make méthode champenoise sparkling wines in the U.S. For four years, Mumm’s Guy Devaux searched for just the right terroir, and finally found the site on Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley. The winery he established, Mumm Cuvée Napa, was completed in 1986.
Today, Champagne-born master winemaker Ludovic Dervin continues the tradition of handcrafted wine, each cluster of grapes carefully selected and transported in small baskets. The harvest is then gently pressed using only the first, most pure, pressing to go into the sparkling wines. To ensure character in the style of méthode champenoise, every bottle is fermented separately. The grapes are still sourced entirely from Napa Valley. As we’ve discussed, it’s not Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region of France. But hey, it’s from Napa, and it’s French inspired!
The Brut Prestige bottling is a non-vintage (or to be more accurate, multi-vintage) sparkling wine, and is considered Mumm Napa’s signature cuvée. Faintly lemon in color, with aromas of nicely ripened melon, citrus, and a whiff of toast, the wine has lovely balance and texture on the palate. Brut wines are always dry, but this has crisp sweet fruit that allows it to pair with anything from light hors d’oeuvres to cake, and everything in between. Available locally for about $17 to 20, at Wine Exchange, and Hi-Time Cellars, Total Wine, Tustin, The OC Wine Mart, and Amazing Grapes.