G.H. Mumm Champagne. Here’s to the day of the bubbly!  Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience; touring the caves of the G.H. Mumm champagne cellars and then tasting and comparing pourings of the beloved bubbly.  Yep, makes for a pretty great day.  Oh, and what topped it off?

We were the only two people who signed on for the English-speaking tour, and as such, we enjoyed a completely private tour!

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The Champagne Label

Reims is in the heart of the champagne region of France.  In order to be labeled, “champagne” the grapes must be grown and harvested in the region of Reims.  Any bottle of bubbly produced anywhere else in the world is not champagne, it is sparkling wine.  Way back in the day when the wine growers started to develop the technique of bottling champagne, they trademarked the name and region as being the only place to produce champagne.  It’s in the soil, so we’ve been told!

G.H. Mumm

We chose G.H. Mumm cellars because they were open in the winter. They gave tours in English and they were suggested by Rick Steves as being a visitor-friendly cellar, relaxed and not ostentatious.  The cost of the tour depends upon which tasting package you choose.  We chose to taste 4 different bottles at a cost of 28 euros/person (about $38/person).  The tour lasts just about an hour and the tasting is not rushed, another perk of traveling in the off season.

The lovely lobby at G.H. Mumm
The lovely lobby at G.H. Mumm
A demonstration of how bottles are turned during the process
A demonstration of how bottles are turned during the riddling process – See if you can answer my question at the end of this post!
The library (locked behind a gate) of very old bottles.
The library (locked behind a gate) of very old bottles of champagne.
One of the main cave tunnels. 25 million bottles of champagne are stored in the cellars.
One of the main cave tunnels. 25 million bottles of champagne are stored in the cellars.
Schooled in Riddling

Once you have been schooled in the riddling process, toured some of the caves and are sufficiently amazed by some of the history and statistics, you are rewarded with tasting the bubbly and learning even more as your guide describes the different vintages.  Did you know that the smaller the bubble, the better the champagne?!

Mumms 2
Vincent, our very knowledgeable and personable guide.
Post Your Guess

So, here’s my question to you.  The riddling process, which is the turning of the bottles to push the sediment toward the neck of the bottle, is done only by those who are highly skilled in the art.  Today, the process is done by hand only for the most prestigious wines, the best of the best so to speak.  All others are processed with modern day mechanization.  Anyway, how many bottles of champagne can one riddler at G.H. Mumm turn in one 8-hour work day?  Post your guess either here, or on our FB page.  Cheers!

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