The champagne house, GH Mumm launched the Cuvée R. Lalou 1998 in magnum at a dinner at Iggy’s restaurant in Singapore on 18 October 2009 with Yann Soenen, Regional Director Asia-Pacific, Champagne GH Mumm and Didier Mariotti, Chef de Cave present. Guests at the dinner included food and wine journalists, editors, winemakers, wine consultants and educators as well as panellists of the International Congress of Chinese Cuisine and Wine organised by Ch’ng Poh Tiong.
The original Cuvée René Lalou was launched in 1966 as a tribute to René Lalou, a former lawyer and astute businessman who was influential in making Mumm the largest champagne house in Reims following the setbacks of phylloxera and World War II. His goal was always, “Only the Best”.
Nine vintages were produced until Seagram’s, the parent company, decided to sell the company in 1985 along with the unique design of the bottle. It was not until the 1990s that the House of Mumm began to make its mark again with the launch of Mumm Grand Cru, which is also a great gastronomic and well matured cuvée.
The magnum is considered ideal for ageing wine more slowly and ensuring its longevity. It is also the best way to enjoy this legendary cuvée. An equal blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the Cuvée R. Lalou 1998 consists of fruit selected from the finest parcels of 12 legendary Grand Cru vineyards, picked, pressed and vinified separately, with a dosage of just 6 grams, barrel-matured liqueur de tirage and nearly 10 years of ageing in the cellar. It is, in fact, a premium wine of great depth and sophistication displaying all the hallmarks of a G.H. Mumm champagne with freshness, mineral notes and balance.
René Lalou’s notes were carefully passed down along with wine samples of the original blend which served as a base for the new wine rechristened Cuvée R. Lalou 1998. The re-incarnation of this champagne is the handiwork of Chef de Cave, Didier Mariotti, who has given the blend his own stamp while retaining the spirit of the original. Pictured is Chef de Cave Didier Mariotti of Champagne G.H. Mumm.
We tasted the champagne paired with a seven course meal at three different temperatures starting at 8°C because according to Mariotti this is the best way to appreciate the powerful expression of this exceptional cuvée. At 8°C, the Chardonnay is most evident on the nose with aromas of white flowers and yellow fruit, while the wine is lively and direct on the palate.
At 11°C, the plum and quince are still there but more jam-like with aromas of pears and even mangoes discernible along with more toasted flavours of nuts and vanila. The palate is now rich but with great elegance.
As the champagne warms to 14°C, the Pinot Noir begins to dominate giving the wine complexity and substance. The nose shows a greater variety of yellow fruit aromas by this time accompanied by smokey notes of gingerbread, brioche, vanilla and anise. On the palate, the wine finally reveals its full power and body, closing with a beautifully sustained finish. (Alcohol content, 12.5% vol.) 100% Grands Crus, bottled in 1999 and disgorged in 2009 after ageing for nearly 10 years, the Magnum Cuvée R, Lalou 1998 lived up to René Lalou’s reputation magnificently.
— Reva K. Singh