T3.01, 300 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo Sydney NSW 2000

Wine Wednesday


With Melbourne Cup around the corner, we decided to highlight one of the most famous Champagnes in the world, and the main sponsor for Australia’s most famous race: G.H. Mumm Champagne Brut Cordon Rouge

Cellar Pick of the Week: G.H. Mumm Champagne Brut Cordon Rouge
Origin: Reims Cedex, France
Grape varietal: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier


The Champagne wine region is without a doubt the most famous wine region in the world. EU law and the laws of most countries reserve the term “Champagne” exclusively for wines that come from this region located about 160 kilometres (100 miles) east of Paris. The viticultural boundaries of Champagne are legally defined and split into five wine-producing districts within the historical province: Aube, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne, Montagne de Reims, and Vallée de la Marne. The towns of Reims and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area.


The Champagne winemaking community, under the auspices of the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC), has developed a comprehensive set of rules and regulations for all wine produced in the region to protect its economic interests. They include codification of the most suitable growing places; the most suitable grapes (Pinot noir, Pinot meunier, and Chardonnay are primarily used to produce almost all Champagne, but small amounts of Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Arbane, and Petit Meslier are vinified as well.); and a lengthy set of requirements specifying most aspects of viticulture. This includes pruning, vineyard yield, the degree of pressing, and the time that wine must remain on its lees before bottling. Only when a wine meets these requirements may it be labelled Champagne. The rules agreed upon by the CIVC are submitted for the final approval of the Institut national de l’origine et de la qualité (formerly the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, INAO).


There are four categories within styles of champagne. They are based on a combination of colour (hue) and grapes permitted. The four categories include Basic, Rose’, Blanc de Blancs, and Blanc de Noirs.
The category referred to as “basic” comprises the majority of all production. Since this category is the largest and the primary classification, the term is implied and does not appear on the label. The production process includes minimal skin contact during the production process and is not blended with red wine prior to secondary fermentation, resulting in a white wine (technically straw, yellow or gold). All three grapes (pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot Meunier) are allowed in the blend.
Rosé is a style that has a pink to salmon colour. In Champagne, rose’ is most often made from blending red and white wines to maintain a consistent pink colour. Some Champagne Houses use the saignée method where the juice is allowed to remain on the dark grape skins for a short period of time in order to retain (bleed off) some of the skin colours, giving it the pink hue.
Blanc de Blancs translates “white of whites” and is made exclusively from the chardonnay grape, the only white (light) skinned grape used in champagne. The resulting wine is white (technically straw, yellow, gold). The result tends to be light and elegant, although some fuller-bodied expressions do exist.
Blanc de noirs translates “white of blacks”. This is made exclusively from the black (dark) skinned grapes grown in Champagne: pinot noir and pinot Meunier. The juice of the grapes is white, but the skins are dark.


There are seven sweetness levels for champagne. Brut is by far the most popular. There are three brut levels. There are also four sweeter than brut levels available for certain occasions or for those who prefer a sweeter taste.


Non-vintage is also referred to as NV, classic, and multi-vintage. Non-vintage is a blend of wines made from grapes harvested in different years. It accounts for about 90% of all champagne produced. The bulk of the wine may come from one vintage, but generally, up to 30% comes from other years. Non-vintage Champagne must age for a minimum of 15 months on the lees (yeast cells that die and settle out during the secondary fermentation in the champagne bottle).
All grapes used to make a vintage Champagne are harvested from one year and the year appears on the bottle. Each Champagne house decides if it will produce a vintage Champagne in a given year and that decision is only made when the quality of the grapes is superior. Champagne houses generally produce 3 or 4 vintage champagnes per decade. Many houses only use pinot noir and chardonnay for their vintage champagnes as they are often considered more complex and age-worthy. They must age a minimum of 36 months on the lees, but most are aged for at least 4 years and often more.


The Von Mumms are one of Germany’s most ancient noble families, tracing their ancestry back to the medieval era. It was in the 18th century that their history first became linked to winemaking. In 1761, Peter Arnold Mumm decided to establish a business in Cologne as a wine producer and merchant. He transmitted his passion to his sons Jacobus, Gottlieb and Philipp, who, in turn, became pioneers in the emerging French champagne industry. Crossing the border, they set up operations in Reims, officially creating their champagne House in 1827. In 1852, Georges Hermann Mumm, a son of one of the founders, took the reins of the company, which would henceforth be known as G.H.MUMM et Cie. In establishing the Mumm vineyards, he laid the foundations for a company strategy emphasising excellence.


In 1876, Georges Hermann Mumm made a decision that would shape the destiny of his champagne house. Paying tribute to his prestigious clients, he had the neck of every bottle of his Cuvée Brut decorated with a red silk ribbon. This decoration was inspired by the red sashes bestowed upon those distinguished individuals receiving the highest of French honours, the Ordre Royal et Militaire de Saint Louis and the Grand Cordon de la Légion d’Honneur.

Which brings us to our Cellar Pick of the Week. Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne is the heartbeat of Maison Mumm. It is a Non-Vintage Brut, and a complex blend sourced from over 100 different crus.

This champagne is a brightly sparkling, light golden yellow liquid with an abundance of fine and elegant bubbles. The nose reveals initial aromas of ripe fresh fruit (white and yellow peaches, apricots), tropical notes (lychee and pineapple). It then opens up with the fragrance of vanilla before developing notes of milky caramel, breadcrumbs and yeast, culminating in aromas of dried fruit and honey. An explosion of freshness in the mouth, followed by strong persistence. The complex aromas of fresh fruit and caramel perpetuate the intensity. Mumm Grand Cordon signifies triumph and elation – a symbol of success to be experienced and celebrated, whether as a toast for the ultimate moment or savoured with a meal of white meat or fish such as monkfish or red mullet.

Mumm Cordon Rouge provides a distinctive aperitif with confident freshness. When combining with food, its aromatic richness perfectly complements white meat and fish such as monkfish or red mullet, taking the experience to new heights. The crisp elegant structure of the champagne also complements the creamy flavours of foie gras, making an exhilarating contrast.


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