ABOUT THIS WINE
La Petite Montagne, a sub-section of Champagne’s Montagne de Reims, located east and southeast of Reims, the region’s capital. The Ponson vineyards are scattered between seven different communes and only on Premier Cru (1er Cru) sites. From north to south, we begin with Vrigny, Coulummes-la-Montagne (their home town), Pargny-lès-Reims, Jouy-lès-Reims, Ville-Dommange, Sacy and Ecueil. Between the first and last parcels to be picked there is often a difference of ten days of separation. All maintain an east, southeast or south exposition and the climate is continental: freezing winters, dry and warm summer days and cool summer nights. This a blend of parcels from on top of the plateau, mid-slope and lower slope.
The grapes are whole cluster pressed in a traditional Coquard basket press. Some years the cuvée (the first press juice that comes after the discarded initial one hundred liters of free run juice) may go straight to tank for fermentation without any overnight settling. This depends on the quality of the fruit. Alcoholic fermentation lasts between ten days and two months and Maxime limits the maximum temperatures to around 16°-18°C. Aside from temperature control, he believes that systematic enology will more or less make the wines the same from year to year and likely kill the personality of the wine. Malolactic fermentation happens sometimes but is not encouraged.
Ponson’s “Prestige” is a blend of 80% Pinot Meunier, 10% Pinot Noir, and 10% Chardonnay. After aging a minimum of three years on its lees, it received a dosage (sugar addition) of 10 grams per liter, lending to its rich and textured style. The wine matches its rich body, but delivers an added layer of dense and creamy fruit, giving it a textured, yet ethereal feel—that’s the power of ripe Meunier. Most Pinot Meunier Champagnes are built for early consumption (there are great exceptions, of course) and this one is absolutely ready to open now, although it will drink well over the next handful of years.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
Champagne Pascal Ponson has been a culmination of five generations who have handled every aspect of their production, from soil to bottle. The village of Coulommes-La-Montagne, less than 10 miles outside of the epicenter of Reims, is home to their family-run estate and all of their vineyard holdings are within Premier Cru designations. Currently, Maxime Ponson is the man in charge, and he is passionate about crafting Champagnes that compete with the greats of Petite Montagne while retaining a “grower mentality.”