G.H. Mumm was founded in 1827, when the brothers Gottlieb, Jacobus and Philipp Mumm left their native Germany to settle in Reims and start a Champagne house. Their father was a successful wine producer and merchant in Cologne, and the family wanted to expand the business to France. In 1852 Georges Hermann Mumm, son of one of the founders, took over management and his initials became part of the brand. The Mumms were always smart marketers, and Georges Hermann invented the now famous Cordon Rouge bottling in 1852. By the early-20th century Mumm Champagne was famous internationally and served in courts, palaces and prestigious restaurants. Since 2005 the historic domaine has been part of the Pernod Ricard liquor and fine wine conglomerate. Mumm owns nearly 500 acres of mostly Pinot Noir, including many Grand Cru vineyards throughout the region. Though the estate is known for its non-vintage Cordon Rouge, wine writer Antonio Galloni has noted that “It is with its higher-end wines that Mumm really shines.”
Champagne is a small, beautiful wine growing region northeast of Paris whose famous name is misused a million times a day. As wine enthusiasts and all French people are well aware, only sparkling wines produced in Champagne from grapes grown in Champagne can be called Champagne. Sparkling wines produced anywhere else, including in other parts of France, must be called something besides Champagne. Champagne producers are justifiably protective of their wines and the prestige associated with true Champagne. Though the region was growing grapes and making wines in ancient times, it began specializing in sparkling wine in the 17th century, when a Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon formulated a set guidelines to improve the quality of the local sparkling wines. Despite legends to the contrary, Dom Pérignon did not “invent” sparkling wine, but his rules about aggressive pruning, small yields and multiple pressings of the grapes were widely adopted, and by the 18th and 19th centuries Champagne had become the wine of choice in fashionable courts and palaces throughout Europe. Today there are 75,000 acres of vineyards in Champagne growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Champagne’s official appellation system classifies villages as Grand Cru or Premier Cru, though there are also many excellent Champagnes that simply carry the regional appellation. Along with well-known international Champagne houses there are numerous so-called “producer Champagnes,” meaning wines made by families who, usually for several or more generations, have worked their own vineyards and produced Champagne only from their own grapes.