Champagne & Methode Champenoise Tasting

The Madison Tasters Club is a monthly tasting group comprised of non-industry, non-professional consumers of wine. The group is moderated by a professional Sommelier who has selects the evening’s wines. Each month the group will taste six selections with a specific theme. The goal of the Madison Tasters Club is to educate, evaluate and create tasting notes to share the consumer’s perspective with a broader audience on the Bottle Pros blog.

The third gathering of the Madison Tasters Club was on November28 th with the topic, Champagne and Other Methode Champenoise Wines. The group was asked specific questions about each wine regarding visual, aromatic and palate impressions. Notes have been compiled based on the group’s impressions with the most common answers used as well as a few quotes from participants.


Gruet Winery, Blanc de Blancs Sauvage

 Technical Data: Listed as an American Sparkling Wine, Albuquerque, New Mexico based, Gruet winery, sources their grapes from 3 regions in New Mexico. The Gruet “Sauvage” is made from 100% Chardonnay that has been aged En-Tirage (on the lees) for a minimum of 2 years with zero dosage on the finish creating an Ultra-Brut or Brut-Nature style.

Group Impressions:  This wine poured pale yellow with streaming pinpoint bubbles. It is light in body, with aromas of rose petal and citrus. The palate offers apple and citrus fruits with hints of bakery spices (nutmeg, vanilla).


“It was dry and sat on the tongue nicely. Pleasant aftertaste that lingered.”

“Nice dry sparkling with fruit notes.”
“Light, crisp, easy on the palate.”


Simonnet-Febvre, Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé

Technical Data: A Rosé style from the Burgundy region of France. Simonnet-Febvre is located in the Chablis sub-region of Burgundy. Their Crémant Rosé is comprised of 100% Pinot Noir that has been aged En-Tirage for 18 months.

Group Impressions:  The wine has a pinkish hue with a peachy-rose color and bubbles that streamed. The nose offered scents of honeysuckle, toast and citrus with a bit of nuttiness. The palate is crisp with bright lively acidity, citrus characters and a subtle thread of chalky minerality.


“It has good body and nice balance.”

“It has body, nice fruit essence, very crisp”

“Rich, smooth flavor.”


Canard-Duchene Champagne Blanc de Blancs Charles VII

Technical Data: A French Blanc de Blancs Champagne from Montagne de Reims. Comprised of 100% Chardonnay with a portion of older reserve wines blended in (between 25-30%). The wine has been aged En-Tirage for a minimum of 4 years.

Group Impressions:  Pouring pale yellow this Champagne offered aromas of pear and yeasty bread notes. Light bodied with citrus and cherry showing on the palate and a hint of gravelly minerality.


“Nice balance of alcohol, acid, body. Tonight’s winner!!”

“Great, easy drinking with a smoothness that goes down easy.”

“This was a nice light wine with a nice light color and lighter flavor.”


Billiot et Fils Champagne, Brut Reserve

Technical Data: This French Champagne comes from the vineyards of Montagne de Reims. It is comprised of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay from a blend of grapes grown in 2013, 2014 and 2015 vintages. The wine spends 36 months En-Tirage.

Group Impressions: A powerful Champagne with a full body, fine perlage and pronounced aroma intensity. Apples and stone fruits show on the nose (and palate) with a rich yeastiness. The mouth-feel is creamy with hints of ginger and stony minerality.


“This seemed smoother than the others, strong aroma.”

“Fabulous, New Year’s roof top watching fireworks celebration. Food only enhances the quality of this.”

“Full bodied, yeasty field of hay and sunshine” Our choice for New Year’s eve.”


Roederer Estates, Brut

Technical Data: A California Sparkling wine from Anderson valley. Comprised of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir grapes that have been oak aged prior to undergoing Methode Champenoise. The wine is aged a minimum of two year En-Tirage.

Group Impressions: Pale in color with slight green hues. The wine has pinpoint streaming bubbles with citrus and apple fruit aromas with a distinct oak influence. It is toasty with a creaminess and buttery nature. Subtle hints of bakery and wood spices are expressed on the palate.


“Nice creamy feel, buttery, stony.”

“For the price point, this is a pretty wine, I would sit on the deck on a summer day with lobster dinner.”

“I taste citrus-Kiwi, nice complex and crisp, sticks around after you swallow it.”


Gramona, “La Cuvee” Gran Reserva Brut Cava

Technical Data: A Spanish Cava from Catalonia produced from Organic and Biodynamic grown grapes. A blend of 50% Xarello and 50% Macabeo grapes that have been aged En-Tirage for over 36 months.

Group Impressions: Fine Pinpoint bubbles rise from the glass. Floral notes of Orange blossom marry with aromas of citrus and tree fruits. The wine has a yeasty nature and a buttery, creamy texture.


“Nicely complex, yeasty nose, flowers yes!”

“This is a nice smooth Cava, no aftertaste.”

“Great balance of Flavor.”