The diversity of Champagne is one of its greatest strengths. Although many folks have a hard time seeing past the bubbles to appreciate the variety underneath, Champagne fans are truly blessed with a wide range of styles and flavors to choose from. The Mumm "Mumm de Cramant" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne ($59.99) stands out as one of the great examples of a unique style.
Mumm has been making this wine since 1882, and at first it wasn’t sold and used instead only as gifts. The “folded” edge of the label is homage to this history, and used to be a sign that the bottle and gift card were delivered personally by the giver. This Champagne is made at 4.5 atmospheres of pressure (about 65 psi) rather than the regular six (about 90 psi)- a style that used to be referred to as Cremant- in fact this wine was called “Cremant de Cramant” in the past. Now the term Cremant is used to describe sparkling wines made in France outside of the Champagne region that use traditional bottle fermentation and is not allowed for Champagne.
It is entirely Chardonnay from the grand cru village of Cramant at the north end of the Cotes des Blancs and this village gives the wine both great ripeness and fabulous chalky minerality. Although the dosage of the Mumm de Cramant is quite low at six grams per liter, this wine is loaded with fleshy white fruit from the top notch terroir. The back end it balanced by succulent acidity and great chalky presence, making this a very fine aperitif.
Cinnamon and I enjoyed this on its own before dinner, and loved the completeness, richness and refreshing character of the wine. If you have never had the Mumm de Cramant, it is worth checking out!