A Galveston BOI introduces his Elegant Madame Zéro

By Sandra Crittenden
Placeholder image 

A Galveston BOI (Born on the Island) has launched a new brand of Champagne called Madame Zéro. This relative newcomer to the local market is made in the driest style found in the famed sparkling wine region.

It has no added sugar, which is known as the dosage or Liqueur d’expedition. The amount of sugar in the dosage defines the type of wine that will be found in the bottle ranging from Extra Brut to Demi-Sec, even the Brut designation, which is considered dry, may have up to 12 grams per liter.

Madame Zéro Champagne features the tagline “embracing selectivity with zero compromise,” and this bubbly has already made a big splash among champagne drinkers winning a Silver Medal in the above $45 category at the 2022 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition, as well as taking home a Silver Medal from the West Coast at the 2022 Sommelier Choice Awards.

Matthew Massey is Galveston’s own local boy who achieved this success. Massey went to Ball High School and grew up in Jamaica Beach. He began working at 16 years of age at Gaido’s, and by the time he turned 18, the seed of the idea for Madame Zéro had been planted, and it would continue to grow along with him.

As he got older and more fully exposed to the world of wine, his passion to pursue more knowledge continued at Luigi’s Ristorante on 24th and Strand where he focused more exclusively on Italian wine. He then moved to Houston for college and continued his quest for knowledge of all things vino by working in more fine dining restaurants.

Madame ZeroHe would detour into international oil and gas roles upon finishing his higher education, but the business travel that was required in his new role allowed him to take his wine exploration further afield; he was able to travel to some of the most highly regarded wine regions of the world.

Massey shared his belief that “To truly understand a wine, you have to understand the ground, grapes and soil where it is from. You have to embrace the love and passion of the craft from the people who have taken on the tradition from many generations of the past.”

Many people have become more health conscious about consumption, including Massey, so he chose to have Madame Zéro be one of the first Champagne houses to disclose nutrition on the label.

Being transparent with this information enables the more health-conscious sparkling wine lovers to confirm the lower calories and carbs, there is only 0.5 grams of sugar per 5 oz pour. Massey is not only considering health; however, it is important to him to include everything that he loves about Champagne.

“We continue to embrace the centuries old tradition and legacy of the growers,” said Massey, “and we are a progressive expression of Champagne.”

Madame Zéro is focused on using the highest quality fruit and fully embracing extended aging while striving to be the most transparent Champagne on the market. The brand has recently landed on the island at the Spec’s on 61st as well as being in Spec’s throughout the Houston area. A local restaurant that has embraced this BOI’s brand is Vargas Cut and Catch.

It can also be found on some of the more hip and upscale wine lists in Houston, including MAD Houston, DaMarco, Brasserie 19, Mastro’s, and Stella’s Wine Bar at The Post Oak Hotel.

There are numerous villages within the Champagne region that grow the grapes that can be blended together to create a house’s particular style; these cross regional blends are the source of most of the larger Champagne brands on the market.

Massey explored many of these villages to understand the different nuances and thought processes for blending multiple grape varietals, blending grapes from different villages, and gaining insight into understanding Champagne as a wine of place.

Through this deep immersion to understand the different Champagne terroirs and what they add to the finished product, he began to see that there was nothing on the market that met his standards in terms of quality, style, and health consciousness.

He was seeking a more elusive style that would meet his idea of high quality, one in which the bubbles produced would not need the added sugar so typically found in the majority of dry or Brut Champagne.

His hard work and planning were put on hold briefly during the Covid-19 pandemic as the shutdown delayed the brand’s launch, but the upside was that this period allowed the opportunity for the champagne to age for an additional year giving the cuvée exceptional balance before it began to hit shelves this year.

“Our client base doesn’t want the impacts of sugar but also does not want to compromise flavor. We have had wonderful feedback from the market confirming we have struck the perfect balance, which we believe is a testament of our quality and extended aging. We believe in the value of craft products and our goal is to have the best cost-to-value ratio of anything on the market.” said Massey.

Massey is highly passionate about every part of this project, and the packaging is a visual expression of his eye for detail. The purple splatter highlights the nonconformist style of Madame Zéro, being ultra-low sugar, extra aged and completely created from a single grape variety, Chardonnay, which has been sourced from a single place, the Premier Cru Village of Vertus.

The lace design on the packaging is inspired by the bubbles in the Champagne hinting at the fine, delicate and precise nature of the beauty in the bottle.

His Champagne retails for less than $60. Massey has a rose version which is set to launch later this year, and this will be followed by a more premium release of a Grand Vintage.

For more information about Madame Zéro, visit madamezero.com or follow our local BOI’s brand on Instagram or Facebook. To really get to know this sparkler, pick up a bottle, and taste Massey’s dream directly from the glass.