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Although I have an intense hatred of stereotyping, I have to admit that since I moved into the world of advertising I've seen a massive amount of cocaine abuse and champagne. The first company went for the coke, and chased it with horrific German premium lager. The company I now work for starts an evening on champagne... and pretty much stays there. As I've drifted up the old greasy pole, I've been drinking more and more of the stuff, to the point where I do in fact own a silver-plated champagne bottle opener. Now, obviously I'm not fantastically wealthy or I wouldn't be on Ciao, so I do tend to shop around the lower end of the market, but every so often I think of an excuse to celebrate something and splash out. Mumm and Co are a pretty prestigious manufacturer of champagne, and they've been at it for quite some time. I first picked up a bottle in the South of France last September and, although I do loathe describing packaging, I was somewhat seduced by the elegant label with its gold lettering and red bits. The bottle looks a bit classy, really, and although it's actually fairly reasonable value at around £22 a bottle even in UK supermarkets (Sainsburys currently have it with £3 off for Mother's Day, bargain hunters), I wouldn't be embarrassed to bring it out at any special occasion. We chilled the bubbly and left it a while to settle after the flight, waiting for a special occasion. Then it was one of those pleasant evenings in late September and it was looking like one of the last opportunities to sit around with a drink in the back garden, so we cracked it open. There is an art to opening a bottle of champagne which can be summarised thus: hold the cork, turn the bottle. It'll still come out with a satisfying pop, but if you find you're firing the cork into orbit or - worse - spraying sparkling wine over your furniture in a foamy spray, then you're doing it wrong. You might think you look cool but: 1) You don't 2) Your champagne will go flat incredibly quickly We poured it into our crappy flutes and drank the night away. Mumm Extra Dry is just that. It's perfect for me, I prefer dry wines across the board and the sweetness of cheap champagne really doesn't agree with me. The Mumm was dry, but not excessively so, so the more sweet-toothed filthyneon still enjoyed it, and it had a fantastic crisp, almost biscuity flavour, livened up by a splendid stream of bubbles. It was dangerously drinkable, in fact, and so we did it justice. Although the champagne was tickling our throats on its way down, there wasn't much of an aftertaste to it, in fact it freshened up my palate considerably for a night of serious food abuse. When we were done, we decided it was definitely Class in a Glass. In honour of the defeated enemy, we kept the bottle and used it as a candleholder on the dining room table. It's just too nice to drink on a regular basis, although I'd certainly be willing to put that to the test. I'm a fond supporter of binge drinking, but should perhaps point out that the alcohol content is a middling 12.5%, for those of you who don't wish to inadvertantly overindulge... I can recommend Mumm with no reservations whatsoever, as long as you're aware that it is a dry taste and you may become addicted to it. We drank it unaccompanied on that first marvellous occasion, but a good champagne goes fantastically well with Chinese food. Perfect for a New Year's Chinese banquet perhaps?
Color: pale yellow Nose: fresh and crunchy fruit: apples, citrus fruits, pears Taste: harmonious smoothness associated with straightforward acidity and subtle vinosity. The dosage is 24 g/l. Personality: an iron fist in a velvet glove: acidity and sweetness Blend: 45% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay (variable from 15 to 25% reserve wines, according to year