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GH Mumm's handwritten letter (1885)

GH Mumm's handwritten letter (1885)

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GH Mumm, the founder of the famous French brand of Champagnes de Reims, negotiates with a Cognac producer, in 1885.

Handwritten letter from George Hermann Mumm, owner of the famous Champagnes house, to Lucien Foucault, producer of Cognac. Four pages (but two blank). In French. 20.7 cm x 27 cm. Reims (France), January 15, 1885. Excellent condition. Single piece.

Extract

We have carefully tasted and compared your sample to cognacs from other manufacturers, and we regret having to tell you that your spirits are not suitable for our application. It is necessary, to be combined with our wines, that the distillate is completely neutral and pure on the palate, this is an absolute condition (...).

One of the main Champagne producers in the world, such as Veuve Clicquot and Moët and Chandon, the house GH Mumm was founded in 1827. In 1853, Georges Hermann Mumm, son of the founder, gave his name to the brand and defined a commercial strategy that allows the house to rapidly expand its cellars and purchase the best vineyards. In the 1890s, Mumm Champagnes already officially supplied royal families in England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Prussia, Austria-Hungary, the Netherlands and Spain, as well as luxury cruises, hotels, restaurants and clubs. Today, it is also an official sponsor of major sporting events, such as the Formula 1 and American Basketball (NBA) world championships. The "Cordon Rouge" is a symbol of prestige and lifestyle in a hundred countries.

In 1885, GH Mumm negotiated with Lucien Foucault, owner of a respected French Cognac factory, to buy part of his production that would go into the composition of Champagnes. However, GH Mumm was not satisfied with the tastings and made another commercial proposal to Lucien Foucault, which seems to be the purchase of Cognac for export, another specialty of the Mumm house.

Stéphane Kraxner, responsible for the archives of the Mumm et Perrier-Jouët companies in Reims, explains the relationships between Champagne and Cognac producers at the time:

(...) In fact, as you probably don't ignore, champagne needs to expel the fermentation residues to be overflowed, purified. In addition, during this operation some product is always lost, necessary to complete the bottle. If today it is made with older wines or vintage wines, this was not the case in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most Champagne houses operated their wines with a mixture of old wine and cognac spirit that allowed them to correct very low alcohol levels for certain years. The progress of fermentation and the mastery of the methods of elaboration, champagne, rejected these techniques until oblivion.

Furthermore, Cognac houses and Champagne houses have seen a certain interest in being represented by the same people in markets: the two drinks both representing French luxury. Finally, the meeting of the LVMH group Moët et Chandon and Hennessy engendered another rapprochement of the same type as Pernod-Ricard or the subsidiary Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët bringing together the two products in a common management of luxury goods (…).

Handwritten in GH Mumm's own hand, with beautiful calligraphy and a prestigious signature, this letter is particularly valuable for lovers of French wines, Champagnes and Cognacs.

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