Let’s go to Mumm Napa for a Sparkling Wine Tasting

We’d been lured to Mumm once before by an acquaintance who works for Compari. It was a great suggestion and a delightful discovery. We’d heard of Mumm, knew it was excellent champagne and loved the excuse to try it while visiting family in Napa.

Europeans drink sparkling wine for everyday occasions with Americans traditionally reserving sparkling wines for celebrations. Mumm is trying to change this American attitude by making their champagnes and sparkling wines so accessible, both in price and location, by having vineyards and a tasting room here in the Napa Valley.

So…this weekend we had some unexpected free time, and were sort of celebrating a personal triumph, so we decided to head up to Mumm. We made our reservations for 1 pm and asked to be seated inside, which they said they could accommodate.

Watch for the Small Sign

From Napa, heading north on Silverado Trail, keep an eye out for a small, blue sign on the left hand side of the road that says “Mumm”. This is your “heads up” to slow down because in approximately ½ of a mile you’ll make sharp left into the driveway of Mumm.

The Servers…

Our 1st Visit

Back during our first visit, and not being in the hospitality industry, we’d been content with our general seating while our acquaintance got her “industry tasting” in the back rooms. We were easily seated. However, after being ignored for over 30 minutes, we flagged down a server who was rightfully embarrassed by the neglect of the staff. He’d personally righted this wrong and credited one of our tastings for free…and served us several refills of as he passed by. He was excellent and we forgave the incident, tipped him $20…and bought over $100 worth of Mumm Champagnes.   

We also added a single tasting of the 2008 DVX at $15.  This is their creme de la creme top shelf product, be sure to inquire about it.

Today’s Visit

We arrived 10 minutes early for our 1pm appointment and were seated right away. We were seated outside, which wasn’t part of our reservation, so we asked to be seated inside. They did this right away and guided us to an available table inside that was just fine.

We waited a bit since we were early, but this dragged on and on. We’d noticed a huddled group of servers at the front desk near the the main entrance. They were just standing around talking to each other…and nobody was coming to offer us a selection for our tasting. 17 minutes passed…still the same thing. This was threatening to be a repeat of our first visit.

I graciously made myself known to this huddled group and got their attention. One of the servers hanging around the front desk turned out to be the head of guest service, a young man of about 26 named Alex R. He offered to help us and personally saw to our service throughout the rest of our visit. He was very helpful in discussing the different wines and what made them each unique, Mumm’s history, and was quite knowledgeable. Because I asked, I discovered he already has an MBA, is working in the wine industry and is studying to be a sommelier.

Sparkling Wine Flights

Because my husband and I share our selections, we decided to get two different tastings so our palate would be exposed to twice as many tastes.  We ended up tasting the Spotlight($35) and Standard($25) tasting.

These two tastings included:

  • Blanc de Blanc Reserve Napa Valley
  • Brut Reserve Rosé
  • Blanc de Noirs Napa Valley
  • Blanc de Blancs Reserve Napa Valley
  • Sparkling Pinot Meunier
  • Demi-Sec

NOTE: We also ordered their fruit and nut tray…which had dried cherries and apricots, walnuts, cashews and little wholemeal crackers for $8. It paired well with everything we tried and kept us from being as too easily intoxicated by our eight full-sized flutes of champagne.

Our Sparkling Wine Picks in Order of Likes

  • 2008 DVX – Stunning and flavorful. Tops!!!
  • Brut Prestige Extended Tirage – Our Go To & Great for any time.
  • Sparkling Pinot Meunier – Rare and exceptional! NOTE: You will have to call the winery to ask to have it included in your membership shipment.
  • Blanc de Blancs Reserve Napa Valley – Light, crisp, fruity, and slightly dry without being a brut.
  • Demi-Sec – Sweet and fruity without the sugar overpowering the fruit. Absolutely perfect with any dessert or AS Dessert.

Know Before You Go – Hints and Tips

  • Be graciously proactive in reminding Mumm’s staff of your requests and of getting served.
  • You WILL be getting “full-sized flutes”, so you will essentially be drinking 3-5 full flutes of champagne each. Come with something in your stomach or have their fruit and nut tray. It’s deliciously perfect even if you’ve already eaten.
  • In the Summer Months, ask for inside seating. It gets really hot, usually 93º F hot in Napa and even hotter during heat waves.
  • Make Reservations! Yes, you can show up without a reservation and get seated, but you’ll have to wait outside in line and it can get hot and tedious.
  • The servers at many of the most accessible wineries in the valley are “On-Call Servers” from temporary staffing agencies…and many times the wineries don’t hire enough staff to serve the many last minute guests who flood the valley.
  • Most of these servers are underpaid, overworked, and not wine careerists in training. This is not an excuse, but it does give perspective. They usually make $12-$14 / Hr. I know this because I used to be one of these hired servers. Yes, it can feel like a cattle call, but this is big business efficiency in the wine industry.

For more information and reservation, you can go directly to Mumm’s website.