AFTER YEARS OF visiting Europe for international oil and gas biz roles and discovering wine through different cultures, Houstonian Matthew Massey was inspired. He explored many of the 319 villages in Champagne, France, to learn more about different terroir styles of wine. It’s “the one region that is driven by style as opposed to a wine of place,” says Massey, who, incidentally, was introduced to the drink as a teen while working at Gaido’s in Galveston.
Massey decided to create his own Champagne, eventually selecting a maker in the Premier Cru village of Vertus to join him in his quest to redefine the bubbly beverage. “It was a tedious process to find the right grower and the right winemaker who shared my vision.”
Committed to fitness and nutrition, the dashing 30-something, wanted to create a modern brand that would align with today’s health trends. “As we developed the brand, I decided to include the nutritional information and calorie count right on the label,” says Massey. Madame Zero is the first Champagne house in the world to do so. “Being transparent – which is only fair – means fewer carbs, lower calories (100 per serving), and less than .5 grams of sugar per 5-ounce serving.”
It has zero of the bad stuff, but zero compromise in taste — just pure luxury with aromatic notes of honey, fresh fig, and citrus and passionfruit on the palate with a crisp, elegant finish. Massey wanted a “nonconformist style” from the clean flavor to the bottle design and labeling. “This is not your grandma’s Champagne, but we invite her to drink it!”
Massey’s brand has grown organically. “We began selling in the Houston market late 2021 and have plans for the rest of Texas and the East and West coasts,” he says. The first big order came from A’bouzy, naturally, as its known for its wide selection of bubbly. Now Madame Zero can be found at Brasserie 19, Stella’s Wine Bar, Potente, Lees Den and MAD (to name a few), as well as fine hotels, retailers and online. This year has been exciting, with a silver-medal win at the Rodeo Uncorked! 2022 for the Champagne segment, and a silver medal at the international Sommelier Choice Awards in San Francisco. “We disgorged our beautiful rosé in June 2022 and it will be released later this year. Also, a special limited production vintage will be released in the next 24 months.”
In his leisure time, Massey likes to travel, spend time with family, hit the beach, and drive his hot rod. “I don’t do the cold-calling for sales as much, but I still like to meet our customers and even do a tasting with them so they know the person and the passion behind the brand.”