“This sparkling wine goes so well with food!” our hostess exclaims, lifting a fluted glass on a chill winter evening. “I always thought sparklers were for aperitifs or dessert!”
As we celebrate 2009, let us also celebrate the end of all “rules” about sparkling wines and champagne. As you explore the world of sparklers, you will find that even though they glitter with celebratory bubbles we adore for special occasions, they are a wine like any other. Just as some wines are “food wines” and some are better as an aperitif to stimulate the appetite, so are sparklers.
Recently I came across an incredible food wine with a very sci-fi sounding name. It is Mumm’s DVX, vintage 2000, which has such an aromatic, toasty, yummy vanilla nose and full, powerful palate it can pair with a wide variety of foods.
First, more about the wine. You have probably heard the Mumm name before, and that’s important. When you bring a hostess gift, it really is all about bringing a universal high-end brand name that carries recognition and cachet. Though most hosts and hostesses know they have the option of reserving your gift for another occasion and not serving it in your presence, you always want to stretch yourself to bring a signature brand. After all, your gift represents how you value your host as well as yourself.
Mumm’s DVX is clearly not their entry level brand. The curious three letters of this premium offering represent Guy Devaux, who was born in northeastern France, a region famous for its production of Champagne wines. After his wine education he began his career at the Institut Oenologique de Champagne in Epernay. In 1960 he moved to Northern California and ultimately helped create a signature style of sparkling wines that can rival that of France’s Champagne region.
Winemakers select grapes for DVX from more than 45 separate vineyards and 90 different lots. Only 14 small lots of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir made it into the 2000 DVX release. As is typical in Champagne, France, individual lots are kept separate during fermentation to highlight individual vineyard character.
I had not heard much about this wine when I brought it to the dinner party, but I knew and trusted the Mumm’s name and suspected this higher-end choice would be fantastic. As soon as the wine was uncorked during the first course of curried butternut squash soup, I knew I made the right choice. The sparkler seductively offered a delicious aroma and palate of grilled bread, nutmeg, vanilla bean, and ripening apples in the cellar on a cold fall day. Enchanting on its own yet it went so well with the soup. Mentally I began to create other potential pairings: curried crab appetizers, buttery rich lobster, especially with a vanilla sauce.
Wine Spectator rated this wine 91 points, and Wine Enthusiast 94 points. DVX 2000 really gives over-priced champagne wine a run for its money. This year, wine choice is all about value combined with quality – which is what DVX is all about.