Maxime Ponson and his late father Pascal (Courtesy of Mike Carleton/Transatlantic Bubbles)

Champagne Ponson - Made Whole

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We've seen notices from importers over the last couple of weeks about Champagne arrivals for the fall and the news is chilling. Wines that have in the past been readily available are now allocated, quantities are down and prices are up. Today's offer is the kind that excites us, because it's an opportunity to stock up on excellent Champagne without floating a bond issue. Over the past few years we have routinely carried the wines, (or more accurately, the wine) of Maxime Ponson. But for the first time we are able to offer a range of wines and they deserve your attention.

Maxime is a fifth-generation winemaker on the western slope of the Montagne de Reims, informally known as the Petite Montagne. The family estate is located in the village of Coulommes. However, Maxime has taken the long road to get there. Early in his career he and his father Pascal disagreed about the virtues of organic farming (Maxime was pro, Pascal was con). Rather than fight with him, Pascal gave Maxime a little more than a hectare (split between 26 tiny parcels!) to farm as he wished and make wine. The resulting wine was bottled for years as 'La Petite Montagne,' and is a perennial favorite here among both staff and customers.

Maxime's success did not go unnoticed by his father, who was impressed enough to begin converting all his vineyards to organics as well and when Pascal passed away in 2018, his son took the helm of more than twelve additional hectares. In addition to the flagship wine, there are two single-vineyard wines and a truly fabulous entry-level Champagne. While the heart of the estate is Pinot Meunier, Maxime has planted a fair amount of Chardonnay in the mostly clay-limestone soils and the wines are fresher and racier for it. Wines are made very simply, picked on the ripe side, fermented with natural yeasts, aged in tank, with some larger barrels mixed in and bottled with roughly 35 ppm of total sulfur. All the wines go through full malo-lactic fermentation.

Yadda yadda yadda. "Sam, tell us how the wines taste!" Fine. The wines are delicious. The real star on today's offer is the 1er Cru assemblage from Coulommes-la-Montagne. A blend of Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a base wine of 2018, this has lovely red fruit, with good weight and mineral presence along with the vigorous acidity that is a hallmark of these wines. When we saw the price, we were pretty well blown away as well. As we head into the fall you'll find it on the shelves for $44.99. 

'La Petite Montagne' is bottled as an Extra Brut, with a base vintage of 2017. There is more of the red fruit that marks the Coulommes, but it's more focused, leaning towards kirsch notes and there is more savory complexity, with fennel-y accents and the texture and bubbles feel finer. This is extremely elegant for the price, and another outstanding value at 47.99.

Last but certainly not least are the two parcellaire wines. The first is a 2015 Blanc de Blancs from a vineyard called 'Les Barbarbies,' aged six years on the lees and bottled Extra Brut, with just 2 grams/liter dosage. This is a lovely '15, the nose is all lemon confit and ginger, colored green at the edges with vivid fresh herbal notes, basil and sage, almost like great blanco tequila in the way it reminds you that it's made from plants. There is good mid-palate weight to balance the still racy acid profile. In fact, this is impressively linear and with the chalk quite exposed. Very good wine at 62.99.

Lastly, there is 'Les Croisettes,' a 2019 Blanc de Noirs of Pinot Noir that Maxime bottles without any additional sulfur and has up to this point been for his own consumption. This was yummy. My notes are a little thin, as the evening these were tasted got a bit silly, but there is more pretty and understated red fruit and some lovely spice character here. I definitely enjoyed it, as the smiley face I drew indicates :)

Don't delay! Buy some excellent Champagne at more-than-excellent prices and support growers who are doing the hard work to continue to improve the quality of viticulture in the region!

Sam Ehrlich

** THIS IS A PRE-ARRIVAL OFFER. WINES WILL BE AVAILABLE END OF WEEK**

No Longer Available

Ponson NV (2018) Champagne Brut Coulommes La Montagne

 A blend of Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a base wine of 2018, this has lovely red fruit, with good weight and mineral presence along with the vigorous acidity that is a hallmark of these wines. A terrific wine, especially for the price.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Ponson NV (2017) Champagne Extra Brut La Petite Montagne 1er cru

A base vintage of 2017 here. There is still the red fruit that marks the Coulommes, but it's more focused and concentrated, leaning towards kirsch notes and there is plenty savory complexity, with fennel-y accents. The texture and bubbles feel finer. This is extremely elegant for the price.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $47.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Ponson 2015 Champagne Extra Brut 'Barbaries' Blanc de Blancs 1e

Aged six years on the lees and bottled Extra Brut, with just 2 grams/liter dosage. This is a lovely '15, the nose is all lemon confit and ginger, colored green at the edges with vivid fresh herbal notes, basil and sage, almost like great blanco tequila in the way it reminds you that it's made from plants. There is good mid-palate weight to balance the racy acid profile. In fact, this is impressively linear and the chalk feels quite exposed.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $62.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Ponson 2019 Champagne Brut Nature 'Croisettes' 1er Cru Blanc de

100% Pinot Noir. Bottled with no dosage or sulfur.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $94.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur