- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut Champagne, $40

G.H. Mumm is the third-largest house in Champagne, with production and ales

ranking behind only Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot. Its flagship wine long has been its non-vintage Cordon Rouge Brut, with the familiar red ribbon on the label.

Light and elegant, the current Cordon Rouge release is a great champagne with which to toast the new year.

The red ribbon (the “cordon rouge” modeled after one used by the French Legion of Honor) has adorned bottles of Mumm champagne since 1876. Unfortunately, Cordon Rouge went through an inconsistent period about a decade ago, perhaps due to a change in ownership at the company. For a while, the wine tasted simple and lethargic — not bad but unexciting. Happily, it’s now back on track — as good if not better than in times past.

Today’s Cordon Rouge is a delicate, ebullient champagne made very much in an aperitif style. Dry but not tart, it tastes of apples and citrus fruit, with a satisfying toasty finish and an enticing, yeasty bouquet. If you haven’t tried it in a while, you’re in for a treat.

Many of the most popular champagnes come color-coded. Veuve Clicquot can be delicious in yellow, while Moet is tasty, though slightly sweet, in white. But Cordon Rouge is so good these days that red deserves to be all the rage in 2005.

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