Champagne made a name for itself through the wines of large negociants - producers who buy fruit from the vineyards of other growers and blend many lots together. The past several decades have seen the rise of the "Grower-Producer" in Champagne. This label belongs to producers who are growing all of the fruit for the wine they produce, keeping their own product to vinifiy rather than sell it to the larger houses. Look for the "RM" on the label, indicating that the winery is a Recoltant-Manipulant, or Grower-Producer, and not a Negociant-Manipulant (NM), or larger house. Fine wine can be made in either way, but RMs produce products that are inevitably more indicative of terrior.
"Special Club" wines are just that - a group of RM producers who make a premier bottling that must be tasted and approved by all members, bottled in a specific 'Special Club" bottle. Mousse has been growing grapes since 1750, and they are particularly dedicated to the Meunier grape, to which their schist and clay soils are most harmonious. Though many think of Meunier as a lesser grape in Champagne, the cult-like following the Mousse wines have in the wine community, and the wines themselves, demonstrate the potential for greatness of this unsung grape.
The classic example of sparkling wine is Champagne from France, but many other examples are produced in other countries and regions, such as Franciacorta and Prosecco in Italy, Sekt in Germany and Austria, Espumante in Portugal and Cava in Spain. Some of these are made according the production method called "Traditional Method." This is how Champagne is produced and considered the highest quality way to make a sparkling wine.
Learn more about Sparkling Wine from around the world.