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G.H. Mumm Champagne Cuvée R. Lalou 1999

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Capturing the light, the robe of the G.H. Mumm Cuvee R. Lalou is a beautiful and radiant gold. The nose reveals aromas of white flowers and orange zest, with gourmet notes of vanilla, nougat and honey. In the mouth, the palate is initially fresh and lively before opening up to reveal a richness and power to balance the structure and acidity. The generosity on the palate builds to a final crescendo and a beautifully long finish.

Country: France
Region: Champagne
Vintage: 1999
Colour: White
Grape Variety: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
ABV: 12.5%
Bottle Size: 75cl
Closure: Natural cork
Style: Traditional method sparkling
Vegetarian: Yes (not certified)
Vegan: Yes (not certified)
Drink With: Pata Negra ham; involtini of monkfish with truffle; meat with a sweet & sour pairing such as duck in orange sauce

As chairman of G.H. Mumm for more than half a century, Rene Lalou was a true visionary with an unending passion for his region and an instinctive understanding of its terroir. His ultimate goal was to protect the integrity of the grapes by identifying and isolating the finest individual parcels, the very building blocks that define the character of Champagne's terroir, from harvesting right through to vinification.

He took on the grand task of selecting the optimum Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from the twelve finest grand cru villages, combining them into a single, complex blend. The result was the original Cuvée René Lalou which successfully captured the essence of G.H. Mumm. René Lalou’s copious notes were carefully passed down through the generations and a library of consecutive blends was created to one day serve as the base for a new blend.

René Lalou's philosophy was to put terroir at the heart of the culture of G.H. Mumm, blending wines from the best crus to create cuvées that truly reflected this great terroir in terms of aroma, body and flavour. Cuvée R. Lalou is sourced from the finest, oldest and most characterful parcels within the G.H. Mumm vineyards: a choice of twelve mythical "lieux-dits" all situated within the region’s best grands crus. It produced in very small quantities and only in the best vintages. These parcels are situated within the grand cru villages of Verzy (Les Houles), Verzenay (Les Rochelles and Les Perthois), Aÿ (Valnon), Mailly (Les Villiers), Bouzy (Les Hannepés), Ambonnay (Les Crupots), Cramant (Les Bionnes, La Croix de Valmont and Les Perthes) and Avize (Les Briquettes and Les Maladries du Midi).

Cellar master Didier Mariotti selected the finest parcels of grapes, vinifying and ageing each of them separately. In 1999, only eight lieux-dits deserved this special treatment: the very best villages of the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs. The final blend was 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, and time was needed for this vintage Champagne to reveal nature's bounty. After ten years spent ageing on its lees, the wine was judged to be ready. A dosage with a very low sugar content of 6g/l brought out the full character of this Champagne without altering its personality. For all these reasons, G.H. Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou is a wine for laying down and it can be cellared for many years.

The first officially released vintage of Mumm's original Cuvée René Lalou was 1966, proceeded by 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1982 and 1985. A blend was produced in 1989, but it was never released commercially as the label was discontinued after the 1985 version. Historically a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay, this was still the case in 2007 when the prestige cuvée was revived with the launch of Cuvée R. Lalou 1998, similar in style to the original but with significant differences of selection and winemaking. The slight change in name was the result of Mumm wanting to avoid being seen as "copying" the original. Unusually, given that only nine vintages were produced in the nineteen year lifespan of the previous incarnation, the 1998 was followed by this Cuvée R. Lalou 1999, launched in 2011.