NV Francois Montand “Méthode Traditionnelle” Brut Sparkling Wine
We cannot technically call this wine “champagne.” Since it’s from Jura, France, we are not allowed to confuse this wine with its cousin in Champagne. That’s the rule. This being said, if I were to bring this to a New Year’s Eve party, I would certainly announce to everyone in the room that I’ve brought Champagne. It’s likely that nobody would be able to tell the difference anyways.
At $9.79 per bottle, my wallet can definitely tell the difference. True Champagne at Costco starts at $20/bottle with most hovering around the $45 mark. This wine initially caught my attention because the label is very classy looking and could easily be mistaken for a real Champagne. I noticed “Methode Tradionnelle” on the label as well, important to note because the way that sparkling wine is produced greatly affects the final product.
There are basically three ways that most sparkling wines are produced. The first is what I call the “cola method”: pumping CO2 into wine and calling it a day. The second is called the Charmat Method, fermenting the grape juice in large stainless steel tanks and then pumping the finished product into bottles. This is how Prosecco is made in Italy. The third is the Champagne Method, also known as Methode Champenois or Methode Traditionnelle (these terms are interchangeable). This is when a second fermentation of the wine happens in the bottle and is how all real Champagne is produced. Second fermentation means that still wine is put into bottles, a “dosage” (sugar) is added to these bottles, and then that sugar causes the still wine to become sparkling wine because sugar + yeast = alcohol & CO2.
But why does this matter? Because it’s all about the bubbles! Sparkling wine produced in the “traditional method” (second fermentation in the bottle) tends to have a finer mousse (bubbles) and this mousse tends to have more endurance. I can attest to this as I initially started this review on a Sunday, when I first opened the bottle, and I am finalizing it on a Thursday while still sipping on the wine, and the wine is not even close to being flat. Impressive. It’s relevant to note that I preserve my unfinished wines each evening w/rubber stoppers and an air pump. It prolongs them.
There is a lot of green apple and a hint of pencil shavings on the nose. This wine tastes young and fresh- more apple on the palate as well as white flowers and a very subtle amount of that toasted-bread-goodness that Champagne presents. The finish is refreshing and leaves you wanting another glass.
The website for this sparkler lists the compostion as “A complex blend of various white grapes, mainly Colombard, Ugny blanc & Chardonnay.” For anyone who cares, true Champagne is composed of either Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and/or Pinot Munier, depending on the style. The Francios Montand “complex blend of various white grapes” give this sparkler a unique twist. It’s not going to be confined by any such rules. I would bring this wine to your next holiday party or enjoy a glass on any given Tuesday.
-Reviewed by Erin Hayes
Wine Spectator gives it an 89, and so do I.
Purchased in Buford, GA