Weekend Sip: The sparkling wine for people with a sweet tooth

The bottle: Mumm Napa Cuvee M, $24

The back story: So the stock market has you down? Or 2018 was just a rough year for you in general? Here’s a thought: Ring in the new year with something on the sweeter side.

That’s where a sparkling wine like Mumm Napa Cuvee M fits in. This California-made bubbly is in the “sec” (or dry) style, but in the confusing terminology of the wine world, that actually means it’s semi-sweet (“brut” is a popular drier style and “brut nature” is the driest of all). In some ways, the sweet stuff has gone out of favor, at least when it comes to Champagne, France’s signature bubbly — 97% of the Champagne imported to the U.S. is on the dry side, according to one published report.

But that hasn’t deterred Mumm Napa, a three-decade-old U.S. brand, now part of the wine-and-spirits giant Pernod Ricard’s portfolio, that was launched by France’s G.H. Mumm Champagne house. Cuvee M is a relatively more recent addition to the Mumm Napa lineup, having been introduced in 2004. The idea, says a brand spokesman, was “to offer a new, contemporary style of sparkling wine.” The bubbly proved an instant hit and “is now among the winery’s most successful new product launches ever,” the spokesman added.

What we think about it: Dry Champagnes have their place, but we like to mix things up once in a while. And Cuvee M affords that opportunity at an affordable price point. To be clear, this is a sweet but hardly sugary sparkling wine and has some decent acidity to balance things out. The brand says you should pick up notes of wild strawberry, fresh-baked bread, vanilla and honey.

How to enjoy it: Cuvee M pairs well with spicy foods (think Asian or Indian dishes). And it’s a natural with dessert. Of course, if you like a little sweetness in a standalone sip, make it your sparkler to toast 2019. Happy new year!

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