Mumm Napa Valley
Cuvée M Red
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR (EXCLUSIVE) WINE ALERT:
Today’s red bubbly from Mumm is a delight. It is very easy to see why this wine is one of their most popular winery-exclusive wines. How we got our hands on some will remain a mystery. Just know that the wine is amazing – and that if you like big and bold with bubbles, then this is an easy choice!
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Mission Codename: The Red Moose
Operative: Agent Red with Agent K2
Objective: Return to long-standing Operative bubbly-fan favorite, Mumm Napa, and return with a special sparkling wine that is only available to the public at the winery itself.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Mumm Napa Valley
Wine Subject: Cuvée M Red
Winemaker: Ludovic Dervin
Backgrounder: The Wine Spies have the great fortune (okay, the skills) to be able to get their clever hands on some of the most exclusive wines in the world. For today’s wine, Agent Red and Agent K2 visited Mumm Napa – where they rendezvoused with Mumm’s Agent Bubbles – and managed to procure a small allotment of Mumm’s ultra-exclusive, winery-only, Cuvée M Red. Read our tasting notes, below, to read more about this very special sparkling delight.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Brilliant dark rub red with a deepening heart of the darkest red rose petal you can imagine. The mousse (that collection of bubbles at the top of the wine) retains a beautiful muted Burgundy color. On close inspection, a steady cascade of the finest bubbles rise to the Burgundy cotton-candy surface of the wine.
Smell – Dark and heady, with distinct black spiced cherry, dark red rose petals, black currant, soft leather, tender tobacco and exotic subtle spice.
Feel – Finely textured, with a soft rush of tiny bubbles that glide elegantly across the palate. After a moment, the wine adds a softly drying feel, that works its way slowly form the edges of the palate, inward. As this drying effect takes hold, a rush of secondary flavors is introduced.
Taste – Dynamic and delicious, with flavors that lead off with darkest mixed red berries of black cherry, raspberry and cranberry. These are joined, after the soft dryness appears, by additional flavors of overripe blackberry, spiced cherry and subtle exotic sweetwoods.
Finish – Dark and very flavor-filled, the wine presents big dark fruit at first. These initial flavors dwindle, slightly, as a soft dryness spreads its way inward across the palate. A moment later secondary flavors appear – and then take a long time to disappear.
Conclusion – Yes, we had fun in both tasting and in describing this fantastic wine. It is very easy to see why this is one of the top-selling sparkling wines at the Mumm Napa Winery; The wine is as fun as it is delicious. This wine is an experience, delivering deep and robust flavors, a fantastic and dynamic feel and a super-long and ultra-rich finish. This is the perfect companion for a hearty meal, and I would recommend it for a summer day, served with hard cheeses and exotic jams.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Ludovic Dervin
DATE OF BIRTH: November 1970
PLACE OF BIRTH: Meaux, France
WINE EDUCATION: Diplome National d’Oenologue in Reims, France., Diplome d’Etudes Superieures en Oenologie des Vins de Champagne in Reims, France.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Wine maker for Mumm Napa
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Balanced wines, with power and elegance
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Mainly blends, with a focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Creating a new wine with Musician Carlos Santana, to benefit underprivileged children, called SANTANA RESERVE.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Sparkling wines are not wines to keep for special occasions, but wines which will make any occasion special!”
We were unable to catch up with Ludovic for an updated interview so, here for your reading pleasure is a previous interview, in which he mentions a different wine than the one we are showing today:
AGENT RED: Greetings, Ludovic. We are thrilled to be showing your Demi-Sec today. I have to say that it is, so far, my favorite Mumm bubbly! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
LUDOVIC: Bonjour agent red, and many thanks for showcasing our great Napa Valley sparkling wines today.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
LUDOVIC: I think it all started playing hide and seek in the Champagne vineyards. I was always curious about the life cycle of grapes to wine as a kid, and all the culture surrounding it. I don’t think it is really one specific bottle of wine or wine experience that lead me to embrace winemaking as a professional career, but rather the sum of many small experiences growing up in the vineyards of Champagne. Winemaking has all the ingredients that I enjoy in life. A perfect mix of cultural traditions and modern science, interactions with our environment and people. Grape vines also tend to grow in some of the most beautiful regions of the world, such as our Napa valley.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
LUDOVIC: I studied winemaking science and craftsmanship mainly in Champagne in my early days, but I also traveled and made wines in the new world and old world of winemaking. California, Greece, South Africa, France.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
LUDOVIC: I like to craft wines which are balanced, fruit forward and food friendly. I like wines with a crisp and refreshing acidity, with depth, power and elegance. The fruit forwardness, freshness and elegance are achieved through meticulous farming and gentle handling of the fruit to avoid excessive bruising of the berries. I think it is important to let the fruit express itself through minimum winemaking intervention, but it is the daily attention to details which separate good wines to world class excellence.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
LUDOVIC: Again, it is more a combination of all that I encountered through my life that influences my winemaking style today, rather than one single event or person. I am not trying to duplicate or emulate somebody else’s style or personality, but rather look for my own. So I only look at my past encounters as a source of inspiration to build upon. I was lucky enough to work with some great mentors through my career and it is hard to single out any one of them. If I had to pick one person each for Still wines and Sparkling wines who significantly influence how I approach winemaking today I would say Bob Cabral from Williams Selyem and Daniel Thibault from Champagne Charles and Piper Heidsieck.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
LUDOVIC: My first winemaking job was in 1990 working as one of the harvest interns at Champagne GH Mumm in France.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
LUDOVIC: I always try to keep the consumer in mind for each different wine I make. My ultimate goal is to make wines that people want. But every-once in a while I like to make small batches just to experiment for myself.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
LUDOVIC: Napa Valley is a truly unique vine growing and winemaking region in the world. It offers a great diversity of soils and elevation within a small area, giving birth to a patchwork of unique terroirs. The proximity of the Pacific Ocean brings a lot of cool air, especially at night, to help preserve natural acidity and to allow for a slow and steady ripening season, without too much rain. Last but not least, what makes this region special is a pool of talented, creative and hard working individuals with eager to succeed. Napa Valley has experienced a growth pace in the wine industry in the past 30 year with no comparison anywhere else in the world, and I think it is thanks to all these ingredients.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
LUDOVIC: I think to be a good winemaker; you need to have a good sense of observation, and be prepared for a lot of long and sleepless nights during harvest.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
LUDOVIC: Most of our wines have completed their alcoholic fermentation and are being racked off their lees in preparation for the blending sessions, which we call “ASSEMBLAGE” in the world of sparkling wines. We evaluate the final style and personality of each individual wine and decide which blend it will be part of. It is one of the most creative and artistic part of our work every year.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
LUDOVIC: Demi-sec is a winery exclusive multi-vintage blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris. It has a very crisp and refreshing acidity, balanced with a little bit over 3% residual sugar, giving a lot of weight and creaminess in the mid-palate. It is a fairly rich and full bodied sparkling wine, with a lot of citrus and white berry tones, a hint of vanilla and some stone fruit flavors. A strong finish with a nutty character.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
LUDOVIC: The slight residual sweetness of this wine makes it a great pairing with most cakes and desserts, but it is also a great wine to have with sweet and sour dishes, spicy food, and rich food like foie gras. Some of my favorite pairings are Crème Brulée and whipped cream apple pie for the sweet side. It can also be a great pairing with orange duck.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
LUDOVIC: I don’t have TV at home.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
LUDOVIC: I am not an everyday kind of person. I believe in diversity and complexity, so my everyday wine somewhat changes everyday. But I tend to drink a lot of our DVX tête de cuvee sparkling wine, and a lot of Pinot Noir still wines.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
LUDOVIC: Very simply actually. We try to make different wines with very different styles and personality at Mumm Napa, so each person can find a wine they like. We all are different people and through our various life experiences, we tend to enjoy different flavors and textures. The best way to enjoy wine for me is with good food and good company. When you approach wine that way, you can really enjoy diversity. I tend to craft wines with crisp and refreshing acidity, because they pair better with food, and tend to age better. The most important thing to keep in mind when you taste wine is your personal integrity and palate. Think for yourself and don’t try to like a wine just because someone else gave it a good score or because it is expensive. Just experience and have fun. Most important with sparkling wines, get out of the habit to open them only for special occasions. They are extremely food friendly, and their festive spirit will enhance the atmosphere in a way that will make every occasion special.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
LUDOVIC: In the bubbly form, I am a big fan of Don Ruinart Champagne. A magnum of their Blanc de Blanc would work for me.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
LUDOVIC: Besides winemaking, what is the most important thing in your life; My family.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
LUDOVIC:Always a pleasure to share good time with good friends. Thanks a lot for your support and best wishes for the coming season!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The gorgeous Rutherford, California location of the Mumm Napa winery and vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Sparkling Wine:
Cuvée M Red is a striking deep red in the glass. a deep, dark ruby in the glass, cuvée m red has a gorgeous red wine nose of cassis, red plums and elderberries with hints of tobacco and cardamom. think “red berries and cream” in the glass.
Cuvée M Red is wildly versatile—pairing up with anything from bbq to a holiday hors d’oeuvres spread. outstanding with brie and a bing cherry chutney, or hearty rack of lamb or wild duck.
Style: True red sparkling wines are relatively rare. achieving the correct balance between the depth and richness of a complex red wine and the elegance associated with méthode champenoise requires exceptional grapes and winemaking artistry. Cuvée M Red is one of our most requested winery exclusive releases, offering something truly spectacular and unique.
Technique: To craft the cuvée m red, grapes are initially handled to create a rich red wine. a fve-day whole berry cold soak extracts fresh fruit and red berry favors as well as deep colors before fermentation begins. after fermentation, wine is quickly pressed off the skins to avoid overextraction of harsh tannins. the red wine completes fermentation in french oak, adding spice and structure. to achieve the wine’s sparkling transformation, the red wines become part of a “triage”—a blend of the base wine, yeasts and sugar—then bottled for the secondary fermentation. the wine is disgorged with a Syrah-based liquor dosage from the atlas peak appellation, which brightens the black berry and smoky spice tones.
About The Winery:
The Wine Enthusiast Magazine calls Mumm Napa one of “America’s Best Tasting Rooms. How do you decide where to end the day in Napa Valley? Go to Mumm.”
Enjoy table service outside on the terrace, or taste in our glass-enclosed tasting salon – each offering stunning views of the surrounding Rutherford vineyards.
While you are here, take a guided tour of the winery, stroll through our Fine Art Photography Gallery or browse for exclusive Napa Valley items in our wine shop. Any way you look at it, a visit to Mumm Napa is the highlight of your Napa Valley experience.
Founded in 1983 by visionary French winemaker Guy Devaux, Mumm Napa has become one of the most popular destinations in the Valley. The breathtaking winery located in Rutherford features a full-service tasting patio, in-depth winery tour and exceptional Fine Art Photography Gallery that hosts museum-quality exhibits year-round. For nearly 25 years, Mumm Napa has crafted superior sparkling wines—marrying the exacting French méthode traditionelle techniques with the exceptional fruit of Napa Valley.
About The Winemaker:
Winemaker Ludovic Dervin – In Summer 2002, Ludovic Dervin was named Winemaker at Mumm Napa. Ludo brings to the position extensive experience in both sparkling and still wine production, along with an exceptional working relationship with V.P. Winemaking and Operations Napa Valley, Rob McNeill.
Boasting a thorough understanding of méthode champenoise production, Dervin completed his winemaking studies in his native Champagne, France, His skills were then refined during several harvests with the prestigious Champagne houses Charles Heidseick and G.H. Mumm, as well as California’s Piper Sonoma, where he first worked with Rob McNeill. Prior to joining Mumm Napa, Ludo polished his non-bubbly winemaking skills at the world-renowned Russian River wineries, Hartford Court and Gary Farrell.
Winemaker: Ludovic Dervin
Appellation: Napa Valley
Composition: 96% Pinot Noir, 4% Syrah
T.A.: 0.67 g/l