What We Say Sparkling Pinot Noir
SUPERIOR/UNIQUE WINE ALERT!:
Today’s wine is a sparkling Pinot Noir. Think real Pinot Noir, but with bubbles, a unique combination of two of our favorites!
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Mission Codename: What’s red and dark and bubbly all over?
Operative: Agent Sparkle
Objective: Procure an outrageous yet delicious sparkling wine for our celebratory Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Mumm Napa
Wine Subject: Sparkling Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Ludovic Dervin
Backgrounder: For today’s remarkable selection, we sent Agent Sparkle back to our friends, Mumm Napa. This time, we gave her instructions to sample Mumm’s Sparkling Pinot Noir, a bubbly that we had received numerous positive reports about. She loved the wine well enough to secure an ample allotment for our Operatives. With so much to celebrate and be thankful for, Agent Sparkle invites you to enjoy this rich and wonderful sparkling wine with your friends, family and loved ones – during all of your celebrations!
Read Agent Sparkle’s detailed tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful and dazzling, a deep crimson, with a heart of darkest pomegranate. Held up to the light, or even better, sunlight, the wine presents a rushing upward cascade of tiny bubbles that seem to move far faster than regular Champagne bubbles!
Smell – Amazingly, this wine smells like a real French Burgundy at first, with darker and more earthen notes. Then, dark cassis and cherry with subtle clove and cinnamon
Feel – This bubbly starts big, delivering a delightful mix of medium-tannins one may associate with a great Pinot Noir, but there is much more going on here. This is going to sound funny to some, but the wine has a dark brightness to it, especially on the mid-palate. That is, the wine feels big and dark, but there is a crisp brightness that surrounds it, making the wine a delightful enigma in the mouth
Taste – If the feel is a playful puzzle, the flavors follow in perfect lockstep. Present here is a mixture of dark red fruits, musky dried cherries, cranberries, dark chocolate powder, with classic Pinot Noir flavors
Finish – Slightly dry, with flavors that ramp up quickly and then taper off slowly moving from big and dark to sweet, then gently tart
Conclusion – An incredible wine! I must admit that I was somewhat skeptical when I was assigned this wine. On tasting, though, I was very moved and very impressed by this wine. When I am not getting cozy with a bottle of bubbly, I am a red wine kind of gal. Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah are the red varietals I love best. This remarkable wine is a wonderful fusion of these two passions, melding the fun and feel of a great methode champenoise, with the flavor and quality of a great California Pinot Noir. This wine will be served at my holiday meals, making the perfect companion for roast turkey or great roast or even lighter fair. If you are looking for a great wine that is also a real conversation piece, you’ve found it! And then some!!
Provided as background intel, what follows is a mission recap from Agent Sparkle’s initial experience with Mumm Napa:
It was a high level meeting of all of our overseas operatives. HQ wanted to have a rare face-to-face. We needed to get on the same page and refocus our efforts. I, Agent Sparkle, was tasked with arranging the summit.
Choosing the location was easy; I just had to get us all to the Monterey safe-house. Agents from around the world arrived. It was good to see Agent Baco Noir in the flesh, in her signature Italian pumps. Agent J played pilot to Agent Terroir and Agent White, flying them both in in her Citation X. They had come all the way from France for the meeting (stay tuned for the results of that ongoing mission). Agent Red arrived a little late but, as a founder of The Wine Spies, he can get away with it.
Agent Grenache, the heavy-lifter of the group, fresh cleaning up our latest logistical nightmare, was in attendance. So, too, were Agent Neutron and Agent Orange (our hipster Paso Robles Operatives), Agent Noir (Monterey), and Agent Smith (you read about him in Agent Red’s mission report of yesterday). Also in attendance were a select group our Agent’s field assets, moles, and confidential informants.
The meeting room was packed. So was the agenda: There were extended tastings to conduct, technical analysis, sessions on trade-craft, research on trends and perhaps most importantly, the latest harvest reports.
It was a long and grueling day and thankfully Agent Red arranged a great after-conference BBQ, Aussie style, in my honor. He arranged the dinner, but I had arranged the refreshment of the evening, a beautiful sparkling wine from my newest friends, Mumm Napa.
Mumm Napa’s bubbly became an instant favorite from the moment I first placed the winery under surveillance. It took some skillful subterfuge to procure enough to serve at our gathering – and to keep enough for our well-deserving Operatives for today’s offering. We’re sorry that you weren’t able to attend our conference, but I am sure that today’s superb bubbly is consolation enough.
The day behind us, the BBQ was in full swing. We were having a great time, and I just love the fall along the California coast. It was the perfect way to finish the days activities, watching the sun set into the mighty Pacific – with a glass of Champagne in hand.
Agent Terroir raised his glass and said, “A mes amis et à un grand avenir!, A votre sante!”. He took a sip and smiled at Agent Sparkle with a glowing look of approval. Sparkle just smiled back and whispered to Red, “Mumm’s the word.”
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
Mumm Napa Valley
About This Sparkling Wine:
Superb dry red sparkling wines are relatively rare. Achieving the correct balance between the depth and flavor of a red wine and the elegance of methode champenoise requires skill and talent. Our Sparkling Pinot Noir is a deep ruby red with purple streaks and a gorgeous red wine nose. Aromas of ripe plum, with a touch of clove and cinnamon underneath, play beautifully on the strong bouquet of spicy cherry, light cranberry and chocolate. Unusual and striking, lush and spicy. Perfect for the holidays.
Style: Superb red sparkling wines are relatively rare. achieving the correct balance between the depth and favor of a full, complex red wine, and the elegance associated with methode champenoise wines requires a true talent. Mumm Napa has achieved this goal with the Sparkling Pinot Noir, a wine that frst debuted to great acclaim at the Napa Valley Vintner’s association trade Barrel auction in february 1997.
Technique: This sparkling wine is from the southern regions of napa Valley, an area with perfect climatic conditions for pinot noir. it is initially handled as a still wine, with more whole-berry carbonic maceration, leaving two-thirds of the fruit uncrushed until the juice goes to the press. the young wine is then inoculated and allowed to ferment until it reaches a perfect balance between color, fruit and structure. the result is a fresh, bright fruity wine with less of the tannins normally associated with a still red wine.
Profile: This deep ruby red complex wine has a purple hue and a gorgeous red wine nose. aromas of ripe plum, clove and cinnamon play beautifully on the strong bouquet of spicy cherry, light cranberry and chocolate. mumm napa Sparkling pinot noir is the perfect accompaniment to holiday turkey, a hearty rack of lamb, prime rib or wild duck.
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.
Appellation: Napa Valley
Varietal make-up: 100% pinot noir
TA.: 0.63 g/l
Dosage: 1.3% (Brut)