Mumm

With its distinctive ‘red ribbon’ label, Champagne G.H. Mumm offers a range of multi-award-winning Champagnes of the highest quality, created by Chef de Cave Didier Mariotti, and backed by a rich and colourful heritage.

The number one selling Champagne in France (and number two in the world), it is not simply a superb aperitif and celebration drink.  It is also considered by many to be the quintessential gastronomy Champagne.  The house style focuses on the Pinot Noir grape which provides both fruit and structure – two vital ingredients when it comes to the successful pairing of wine with food.

Indeed, Champagne G.H. Mumm has cultivated close ties with the world of gastronomy since its foundation in 1827. This year it was announced as the official Champagne partner of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants – and for the second year running will be the Champagne sponsor of The London Restaurant Festival, pairing with some of London’s finest menus, in the city’s finest restaurants.  It is also a long-term supporter of the Academy of Culinary Arts, sponsoring its Awards for Excellence.

G.H. Mumm’s historical commitment to celebrating achievement and supporting exceptional individuals, who twist convention in whatever they do, continues with the exclusive Cordon Rouge Club.  Its members are some of the world’s bravest, most intrepid land and sea adventurers. Among them are Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Bear Grylls, Dee Caffari, John Blashford-Snell and Dame Ellen MacArthur.  Each year, new members are inducted into the club and all take part in heroic races and acts of derring-do, celebrated at the end with a glass of G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge.

Internationally, G.H. Mumm Champagne has been the official champagne for F1 for a decade and is now synonymous with the celebration moment on the podium, after the race has finished.

Background

The G.H. Mumm Champagne House was established in Reims in 1827 by brothers Jacobus, Gottlieb and Philipp Mumm, who were from a rich family of German wine merchants. Georges Hermann Mumm, a descendant of the founders, took over the company in 1853. It became and has remained to this day G.H. Mumm et Cie. Georges was a man ahead of his time with an unusual taste for discovery and adventure. Fanatical about travel and pushing boundaries he supported various adventures including Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot’s 1904 trip to the South Pole.

‘Nothing but quality’ was the mission statement of the founding fathers and with adherence to this George quickly established a reputation for style and quality. Introduced in 1875, the Mumm brand echoes the red ribbon of the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest badge of honour. In 1881 Cordon Rouge became the first Champagne to be exported to the USA, marking the beginnings of an export-oriented sales policy that has continues to this day: Mumm is present in over 100 countries and 60% of production is exported.

Convinced that maintaining quality was vital for long-term business success, Georges became one of the first Champenois to buy vineyards to gain control over all aspects of production. In 1882, G.H. Mumm began to consolidate its vineyard holdings to ensure a constant supply of the best grapes from the best areas. The first purchases were of sixty hectares (148 acres) in the Grand Cru villages of Cramant and at Avize in the Côte des Blancs (famous for the very best Chardonnay).

The courts of Austria-Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and England all appear in the Mumm accounts books from the 1890 and in 1902 G.H. Mumm had sales of 3 million bottles (1 million exported to the USA) making it the leading Champagne house.

After World War I, a company manager, Georges Robinet, took charge of the G.H. Mumm and oversaw its rebuilding. He restored the vineyards and production facilities before recalling the workers, guaranteeing them housing and schools and continuing the progressive social policy of the company’s founders.

In 1927, the House of G.H. Mumm played a role in creating the official Champagne appellation and defining the approved grape-growing and vinification methods. In 1939, René Lalou became chairman of the company. He was to occupy this position for 34 years and would lend his name to the house’s prestige cuvée. Following World War II, the company was restructured, rebuilt its wine stocks, bought more vineyards and grew its sales volume.

History in brief:

1827: the house of G.H.Mumm was founded by three Mumm brothers (Jacobus, Gottlieb and Phillipp), and Friedrich Giesler and G.Heuser

1876: G.H.Mumm & Co launched its first Cordon Rouge

1902: Mumm’s total sales exceeded 3 million bottles

1920- 1973: under the control of Rene Lalou,  Mumm doubled its production to over 6 million bottles

1995: Mumm was the first house to install a revolutionary disgorging system, and the first to be awarded an ISO 9002 certification. This guarantees no defects in the wine, a continuity of style and stricter control of the corks

1998: Dominique Demarville takes over from Jean-Marie Barilliere as Chef de Cave

2006: Didier Mariotti takes over from Dominique Demarville as Chef de Cave

Vineyards

Great wines are made in the vineyard and not in the winery. Today G.H. Mumm still owns 218 hectares of vineyards, which are mainly sited in the eight most renowned Grands Crus in Champagne: Aÿ, Bouzy, Ambonnay, Verzy, Verzenay, Avize, Cramant and Mailly. These holdings cover 25% of G.H. Mumm’s production needs and the remaining 75% comes from independent growers (many of whom have been supplying Mumm for decades). In all Champagnes, Chardonnay (grown in the Côte des Blancs) gives elegance and finesse, Pinot Noir (grown in the Montagne de Reims area) gives flesh and structure and Pinot Meunier (grown in the Vallee de la Marne) provides the fruit and roundness.

Cellars

G.H. Mumm owns some 50km of Gallo-Roman pits dug deep (up to 30m) into the chalk below Epernay. Here some 25,000,000 bottles are slowly maturing at the constant temperature of 11 degrees Celsius. This temperature is ideal for long storage and ensures the development of small bubbles during the second fermentation.

Chef de Cave

Didier Mariotti was employed as Assistant Chef de Cave at G.H. Mumm in 2003 and promoted to ‘Chef de Cave’ in 2006. Thanks to his passion and know-how the quality has surged at G.H. Mumm over the last few years. His open and engaging personality makes him a popular representative of the usually secretive champenois. He qualified as an agronomist and has a degree in Oenology from the University of Reims. His career to date has been spent entirely within the Champagne region.

To learn more about G.H. Mumm read BestChampagne exclusive interview with its President Philippe Guettat.


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