6 Minutes @ Didier Mariotti

Everyone loves Champagne not only for having a little bit of its utmost lifestyle and letting the bubbles flows and linger in your mouth. But you may not have the know how to appreciate a good Champagne. Didier Mariotti, the Chef de Caves from G.H. Mumm introduces us their new Blanc de Blancs and hosted a Champagne pairing lunch at Cepage recently. Mariotti talks to mylifestylenews the way how we should enjoy a good Champagne by starting to know the house heritage...... 
I grew up in Corsica, a distinctive region where the the local vineyards inspired me with a passion for wine ever since. It’s Champagne eventually that made me home.

I was qualified as an agronomist in Nancy, then as an oenologist at the University of Rheims, graduating from there in 1998. I went to join Moët & Chandon and spent a year in New York in the agriculture and food section of the French trade mission.

In Epernay I led a project studying oxygenation and oxidisation in wine during the fining, stabilising and preserving stages. This led me to devise a technique for tracing, both analytically and by taste, the different wines in every cuvée from pre-blending through to disgorgement.

I became Chef de Cercle at Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte when I was 28. I managed a fermentation capacity of 235,000 hectolitres, from the freshly-pressed must’s arrival (170,000 hl) to the bottling process, and was also partially responsible for vinification.

My work was on improving fermentation procedures (evaluating technical options, 
supervising construction work) and that led me to my next appointment as an internal auditor for quality control systems, including the HACCP scheme. It was where I developed the extensive technical expertise.

I came to work at G.H. Mumm in 2003 as assistant Chef de Cave, I was responsible for wine-making from the must stage during the harvest (55,000 hl), through vinification and up to the filling and disgorgement.

We developed a system for managing the vinification of individual ‘crus’ or growths, even down to the level of vineyard parcels.
A little bit of the brand history, the House of G.H.Mumm was born in 1827 out of the long-held family values of exploration and adventure in pursuit of the best life has to offer. It was G.H.Mumm that first adopted the strategy of purchasing grapes directly from growers in the best areas in the Champagne region, ensuring that the House’s vintages were of the highest quality available.

This tradition lives on today, sharing a passion for Champagne with discerning consumers in more than 100 countries around the world. Since its creation in 1827 in Reims, the house of G.H.Mumm has cultivated close ties with the worlds of gourmet luxury living.

Now part of the Pernod Ricard family, G.H.Mumm is the third-largest Champagne producer in the world and one of the world’s leading brands. This year marks the House of G.H. Mumm celebrates the 130th anniversary of the acquisition of this exceptional Terroir at Cramant.

Back In 1882, the House of G.H. Mumm acquired vineyards on the much coveted Côte des Blancs, around the village of Cramant in the heart of the Champagne region.

The fruit from these vines, as rare as it was precious was devoted to a single cuvee, Blanc de Blancs Mumm de Cramant, an exceptional Champagne that bears witness to the expertise and heritage of G.H. Mumm with its nearly two hundred years of expertise.

To make this Blanc de Blancs champagne, we only use the best from the Champagne region’s Terroir, a single village, Cramant, rated at 100% on the growth-quality scale; a single village, Cramant, rated at 100% on the growth-quality scale; and a single grape variety, Chardonnay, with all its finesse, elegance and mineral texture. This demi mousse contributes to the fresh, light and elegant character of this exceptional Champagne. 
Initially it was only reserved for friends of the House, the cuvée was offered to selected leading restaurants and hotels in the 1930s with labels especially produced for each establishment. It was only in the 1960s that G.H.Mumm introduced the cuvée to the wider public.
As the name implies, the hand-picked Cramant grapes from the Cote de Blancs terroir are press at very low pressure and kept in isolated lots. It offers finesse, freshness, exceptional length and distinctive mineral character.

After the fermentation, if the base wine is of excellent quality, the Champagne is aged for just two years to preserve the freshness, which also means the label does not carry a vintage.

The G.H. Mumm Blanc de Blancs quality is equaled only its individuality, made especially to be gently sparkling and so yield a subtle bead that melts on the palate. This combined with judicious ageing that remains the wine’s freshness and elegance.

It is the only G.H. Mumm Champagne not to use Pinot Noir as the backbone of its structure that it was breaking the House style and that is one of the reasons make it so special.

It is a perfect aperitif to pair with fish and seafood, the cuvée first opens up the scents of white flowers, fresh fruit and lemon with a hints of green that reveal its Chardonnay beginnings.

In the mouth, the attack is subtle with a mineral quality, filling out into notes of grapefruit and kumquat. It has a tiny "melt in the mouth" bubbles, a fresh, crisp taste and a long, elegant finish. After the first sip, you would want to have more.
It is best to keep 3-4 years and best to drink when it is young to keep the acidity and to balance the structure as "pure" as it can be.

In Asia, people look for luxury product and here we are to produce some good and luxury champagnes. In fact, we gained pretty good responds from Japan and the market is pretty much mature over there.

China is picking up too as it gradually have become one of our important market now. There are some people in China began to appreciate a fine living lifestyle. Through our presentation and education of the brand's heritage, it does interest them to enjoy it even more.

Champagne is celebration, it is for achievements and it is purely for enjoyment. You can drink it at any kind of occasion, with the right mood, with your family and friends and your preferred company. It helps breaking the ace easily, it is something there to share. It "link to the time" , it is there for you to enjoy the way you like it.

Crémant de Cramant indicated that Crémant is actually a method of vinification to create sparkling wines whereby it had a lower pressure than usual Champagnes. That's the generic French term for bubbly. When it goes flat does it become ex-crémant. Cramant is the village in Champagne where the grapes especially the Grand Cru in Chardonnay Blanc du Blancs were grown. Cramant literally means <The Hill of Chalk> simple because of the soil which contain high mineral.

To be able to enjoy a good Champagne, the amount and the quality of bubbles is essential. Close your eyes, smell and remember the first taste and drink it down. Gradually, you will able to own your sense to desire and to find the flavour. Ask sensible questions and explore more.

When you smell, you may not be able to smell and the link it the name. When you are trained, you are able to name and teach your brain to identify the difference.

I prefer to use a Chablis glass to drink Champagne especially when I have a glass of the 1995 G.H. Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou. The glass impact and balance the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and bring out its best. Otherwise, you will be tasting either too much of Pinot Noir or too much of Chardonnay. The temperature and a well chilled Champagne is equally important.

Champagne has exceptional vineyards, and those of G.H. Mumm are rich and fascinating. It’s their essential character that I want to bring out in our blends, just as the house of G.H. Mumm has been doing for nearly 180 years.

My favorite Champagne moment is always with my close friends and family. It is the best time for me to share the special moment with them.

My favorite possession is my vintage watches and jewellery. I love to collect vintage and valuable stuff.

My ideal way of a living lifestyle is to life the way of life by sharing precious moment to my family and friends over some great Champagne and wines. I will then be very contented.
"The temperature of pouring impact the taste of the champagne" ~ Didier Mariotti
 mylifestylenews @ Didier Mariotti

* Special thanks to Pernod Ricard @ the interview arrangement.

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