Giuditta Padoan

Have you ever wondered what the red ribbon that decorates the bottles of Cordon Rouge stands for?

It is the symbol of the Legion d’Honneur, an order of chivalry established on 19 May 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, and it is the highest form of recognition granted by the French Republic.

A title awarded for civil merits, it was so revolutionary that, just think: already back in the day it paid no attention to the gender or social background of its recipients. 

So what is it doing on the label of a bottle?

To answer this question, it is important to retrace the history of the Maison Mumm, which dates back to the late 18th Century.

We are in Germany, in Cologne to be precise, and here Peter Arnold Mumm is producing and selling his wines under the sign “P.A.Mumm”, together with his three sons.

In these years, for his three sons, the word Champagne already means high quality and dreams come true. Hungry for greatness and excellence, they can’t resist, leaving the family business and founding a branch in Reims, in the heart of Champagne territory. It was1826, the year which saw the humble beginnings of what was destined to become one of the most famous Maisons in France.

This pursuit of quality, which passed from being an attitude to being the genetic trait of the company and its managers, experienced a turning point halfway through the 19th Century, when the Maison fell under the leadership of one of the three founders’ son, Georges Hermann Mumm. For his company, Mumm wanted “only the best”, and he managed to turn his desire into a veritable motto. He went on to build new wineries between 1852 and 1853, and these are still used to this day. 

But credit for the brilliant idea of placing the red ribbon, symbol of the Legion d’Honneur, on the Champagne bottles goes to an agent who was working for the Maison. In a short space of time, people had stopped ordering Champagne and instead asked for a bottle of Cordon.

A chance discovery, which turned the Cordon Rouge into Mumm’s flagship product, battle horse to the point that, afterwards, it was used as a distinctive symbol of the company.

And honestly speaking, the Cordon Rouge definitely deserves that ribbon. This wine is a symbol of the victory that has always accompanied champions during their most exciting moments.

The secret of its success? Quality!

Cordon Rouge is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes, from 77 different Crus. It remains in the bottle for about 20 months before being ready to taste.

Its scent takes us into the back room of a French boulangerie, where a housewife is making bread and the sharp odour of yeast wafts through the bakery.

Then you taste it, and its rich creaminess makes you feel as if you were sinking your teeth into a soft, sweet brioche, with a delicious veil of salted butter. But what stands out is the note of tropical fruits, which remains intense on the palate.

Elegant, round and with a #Playful character, it has always won over the most demanding palates, including those of the royals at Buckingham Palace who, since 1904, have never been without their favourite sparkling wine.

But, as a true Legion Knight, it knows that there is no greater merit than to serve its Nation by taking care of the humblest civilians.

For this reason, I believe that, in spite of the endless awards it has received during 200 years of history, one of the best compliments it ever received was from a young girl during one of our blind wine tastings. 

After revealing the label, she came to me to confess: I have never tasted a Champagne this good!