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Senior editor Dana Nigro joined Wine Spectator in 1998. She is managing editor of WineSpectator.com.
Dana Nigro

A Sparkler to Say Farewell to Irene

Mumm Napa Brut Napa Valley Prestige NV

Dana Nigro
Posted: August 31, 2011

After Hurricane Irene finally left town, my husband and I returned to our apartment, after a rather circuitous drive trying to find our way around all the road closures. We were relieved to discover that our drafty windows had held and the leaky roof and skylight that had needed multiple repairs were really, truly finally repaired. My parents’ house, where we had stayed the weekend to ride out the storm, had only a minor leak in the basement and a lot of downed branches that we were able to quickly clean up. Same for the house belonging to my brother and his wife. All of our friends in and around New York City made it through Irene with no problems either.

But we had spent two days watching all the images of devastation on TV—the houses crushed by fallen trees or ocean waves, the people still trapped in flooded homes waiting for the rivers to crest, the small business owners cleaning out the damp and muck from their storefronts, the tragic deaths—and we were grateful for how lucky we had been.

To say good riddance to Irene, I pulled out a bottle of California sparkling wine for a dinner assembled from what had been left in the fridge: prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe, red leaf lettuce with Black Mission figs and Parmesan, and some simply grilled chicken. (We hadn’t even lost power.) At $20, the Mumm Napa Prestige is the kind of bottling you don’t mind breaking out to celebrate any bit of good fortune. Lightly toasty, with ripe yellow apple and pear aromas and flavors, it finished crisply, with a splash of pink grapefruit. 89 points, non-blind. Versatile and food-friendly, with a personality that doesn’t overwhelm simpler dishes, it cozied up to the salty cheese and meat (as sparkling wine does so well) and took on riper fruit notes such as melon and berry when paired with the fruit. It was a great way to toast to a speedy recovery for everyone harmed in the storm and to a quiet hurricane season for the rest of the year.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Mumm Napa Brut Napa Valley Prestige NV (90, $20, Top 100 of 2010; Rank 48).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated sparkling wines from California.

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