At The Bar with G.H. Mumm’s Central Otago Chief Winemaker Jamie Marfell

French champagne house G.H. Mumm looked to Central Otago in New Zealand a few years ago to collaborate on sparkling wines. Together with chief winemaker Jamie Marfell who helms the process, the sparkling wine is produced using méthode traditionnelle – the same technique that is used at Maison Mumm in Reims, France.

Jamie Marfell takes part in The Write Drop’s At The Bar series. He talks a favourite hotel in Central Otago, why bubbles best sum up his personality and explains why the microclimate of his region delivers the best terroir.

FAVOURITE CITY

It has to be Barcelona after a recent trip to Europe. It’s got that combination of great weather, food, wine and adventure.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

Just back from a recent weekend away, we caught blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds, and cooked it when we got back to our holiday house. All enjoyed with a glass of sparkling of course.

FAVOURITE BAR MEMORY

The Bannockburn Hotel in Cromwell, in the heart of Central Otago. You look over some of the most beautiful wine country in the world, while having a glass of pinot.

DRINK THAT BEST DESCRIBES YOU

I think it’s bubbles for me – there’s fun at the top but still substance underneath.

FAVOURITE WINE

2023 Marlborough sauvignon blancs at the moment – they’re fresh out of the stable.

FAVOURITE WINE REGION

Central Otago as a region is outstanding, well worthwhile visiting for its beauty and to discover the wineries there.

NEXT DESTINATION

Sweden and Finland for work is next and it will be the middle of winter. Winter there is a chance to enjoy the snow, great red wine, and I love a sauna.

HOW IS THE SPARKLING YOU’RE MAKING IN NZ RIVALLING THE FRENCH

There’s been a long history of creating sparkling wine in Marlborough, which has its own distinct terroir that benefits from a maritime climate in a naturally cool climate region. The terroir creates elegant chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier perfect for sparkling wines.

HOW DOES CLIMATE IMPACT WHAT YOU PRODUCE

Central Otago is New Zealand’s only continental climate, as it’s inland and has a large diurnal range with big temperature changes between day and night. The mountains create microclimates in the sub regions we source our Mumm Central Otago from – truly a representation of terroir. The climate and soils are ideal for producing outstanding pinot noir, which enjoys a slow ripening period from the cool climate created by being in the most southern wine region in the world.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Mumm Terroir Collection provides us with the opportunity to constantly be on the lookout for where we can produce exceptional pinot noir driven wines next. Central Otago sparkling wine is not produced that widely. Having a renowned champagne house, G.H. Mumm turn the spotlight onto the region is an exciting development.

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