The year was 1979, and French Champagne house G.H. Mumm was looking for a place in the United States to make sparkling wine.
Vintner Guy Devaux searched far and wide, ultimately settling upon a sub-region of the Napa Valley known as Carneros. There, the cool climate mirrored that of France’s Champagne region – ideal for growing the primary varieties used in making bubbly: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The winery itself is located along Napa Valley’s historic Silverado Trail, away from the hustle and bustle of the other north-south thoroughfare, Highway 29.
Although Devaux passed away in 1995, the winery honors his contributions by producing a sparkling wine known as DVX.
The vintage currently in release – 2001 – has a brilliant golden-yellow hue with a gentle stream of tiny bubbles. As is the tradition with DVX, the wine is complex, rich and nicely balanced. Toasted brioche with a hint of oak spice greet you on the nose, followed by green apple, ripe freestone peaches and fresh raspberry on the palate. There’s a lovely vanilla creaminess on the mid-palate that leads to a lingering, refreshing finish.
Winemaker Ludovic Dervin, born and trained in France, makes several other sparkling wines of the highest quality, embracing the traditional methode champenoise.
If you were to ask Dervin to name the quintessential Napa Valley sparkling wine, his answer would inevitably be Mumm Napa’s Brut Prestige. The winery’s signature cuvee, this versatile wine is sourced from more than 50 prime Napa Valley vineyards to create an infinitely elegant, gorgeously balanced wine.
It’s a wine with a golden peach color, tantalizing hints of melon, spice and toasty vanilla, and a crisp, lingering finish. Brut Prestige has won more medals at major wine competitions than any other wine in its class.
Other Mumm Napa bottlings include Brut Rose, Santa Brut, Brut Reserve and Blanc de Blancs, and most are available for tasting at the winery (for a fee; these sparklers are not cheap).
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?” the magazine poses. “Go to Mumm.”
Visitors can enjoy table service outside on the patio, or taste in the glass-enclosed tasting salon – both offering stunning views of the surrounding Rutherford vineyards.
For a special treat, plan a leisurely two-hour seating on the recently opened Oak Terrace, tasting from an exclusive library flight while enjoying the spectacular view.
Guests may also take a guided tour of the winery, stroll through its Fine Art Photography Gallery, or browse for exclusive Napa Valley items in the wine shop. For a special occasion gift, check out the shop’s collection of unique Champagne flutes.
When it comes to a truly memorable Napa Valley experience, Mumm’s the word.