Mumm Napa essentially and ceremoniously starts harvest season in Napa Valley every year, as one of the first pickers of the season. Grapes for many of our California sparklings are often harvested earlier than those of our still wines, so we commence the season with a blessing of the grapes.This year, the production process began earlier than ever.
“It’s exciting and nerve-wracking,” Head Winemaker Ludovic Dervin says. “Just like the opening day of a new Broadway show.”
Now that the show’s been running for a few months, it’s delightfully clear that 2015’s vintage will produce wines of the highest quality.
But these results didn’t come without some creative adjustments from Ludo and Mumm Napa growers. Meticulous management of the picking schedule over six weeks allowed the grapes to hit the press in “prime condition.” Once there, the grapes were slow pressed and sorted into separate tanks—each batch with its own texture, flavor, and character.
Given the spring drought, the yield is down from previous years, but Ludo says, “What we lost in quantity transferred into great quality concentration. Every year is different in the vineyards, and just like our colleagues in Champagne, success relies on the palate, talent, experience, and creative expertise of the winemaking team during assemblage.”
Ask Ludo about this year’s crop and the wines to come, and you’ll hear words like “gorgeous, excellent, and crisp.” The winemakers will now methodically add their own craft and artistry to the wines, and we can expect the first Sparkling Pinot Noirs to be bottled in March 2016.
With the lack of rain, unpredictable bud breaks, and an uncommonly early harvest, the call that “the show must go on” held true this year. While we wait a few more months before popping open the evidence, it’s now the winemakers’ turn in the spotlight—crafting the exquisite flavors, flawless balance, and perfect consistency for which Mumm Napa is famous.