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“The RSRV range is above all a matter of emotions, a state of mind. More than just wine, each RSRV champagne is a moment shared with those you love.”
Champagne house G.H. Mumm has done something rather shocking. It’s released not just one but four new wines in one stroke, and there’s a fifth on the way. To further complicate matters, one of them is a re-branding of an existing wine: the Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage. This is being re-released as a vintage wine.
First, there are two RSRV wines (a short-hand for ‘reserve’, it seems): 2012 RSRV Grand Cru Blancs de Blancs (100% chardonnay from Cramant; it would retail for AUD $225 but has been earmarked for restaurants), and 2008 RSRV Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs (100% pinot noir from Verzenay; AUD $240 theoretical retail price). These are very good, but the blanc de noirs is my favourite because if its richness and matured complexity. The blanc de blancs is still very tight, lean, restrained and singular: the classic ‘solo violin’ as opposed to the ‘full orchestra’, which would be a typical Champagne blend of regions and grape varieties. When I opined that the wine seemed a little young to be released, Didier disagreed, saying its shorter ageing was “to keep the spirit of the wine”.
Next, there are two Edition Limitée wines. These are non-vintage blends, which have been given extended time aging on their yeast sediments. Edition Limitée 4 Ans en Cave (four years in the cellar; AUD $80 retail; exclusive to Dan Murphy’s) has a lot of brioche-like aromas and is soft and rounded and highly accessible; Edition Limitée 6 Ans en Cave (AUD $95; exclusive to BWS stores) has terrific richness, generosity and character. Didier says these are different blends, both with about 70% pinot noir and the rest chardonnay, no meunier, plus some reserve wines. They are a significant step up from the Cordon Rouge and are sourced from higher-rated vineyards.
Those four are the new releases; they will be joined by a rosé in a few months.
2012 was deemed one of the best vintages the Champagne region has ever experienced. “The quality and the intensity are definitely there to make an outstanding vintage,” Dom Perignon chef de cave Richard Geoffroy told Decanter. The base wines show a lovely richness as well as the acidity needed to make outstanding and long-lived Champagnes. Yields are very low, in some places half of the allowed production.