Here at PlumpJack we take pride in being your “Sommelier” - curating for you with thought and intention. However, this month we decided to go showcase a few favorites of actual Sommeliers. In a world of Yelp and Vivino, sometimes the best answers come from the people who have trained and studied wine for decades. Here is what they have to say.

Garth Hodgdon -  “Caillez Lemaire is all that is exciting in Champagne. Virginie and Laurent took over the estate in 2005 and ever since then there has been one improvement after the other. They have expanded their vineyard holdings from 2ha to just over 6ha, and have revolutionized their work in the cellar while still keeping some of the old school techniques that make their wines special. All of their vineyards have converted to biodynamics and the next generation has already begun to make an impact. Their daughter is studying wine at University and will someday return to be the second generation female winemaker at the estate. While it sounds like all of this change would lend itself to a wine that is still trying to find its identity, it couldn’t be more the opposite. The cuvées are refined, classy and of the highest quality. It would be easy to mistake them for a wine you have had before and loved except these are brand new to the United States, so it’s not likely you have fallen in love with them yet. Welcome to your next favorite champagne- which happens to also be mine.”

Ian Cauble - “The Ponson ‘Prestige’ is one of the great finds for our Wine Team. This is simply exceptional grower-producer Champagne at this price point!” 

Our secret Somm whose name cannot be revealed - “Champagne is the most prestigious sparkling wine in the world. But not all areas are equally prestigious. The Montagne de Reims is one of the marquee areas in all of Champagne, housing Grand Cru villages like Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzenay. But many people in the know, equally respect the 1er cru villages tucked behind this powerful South facing slopes for elegance & finesse. The likes of Bérêche, Savart, & Jérôme Prévost are here... Ponson has TREMENDOUS land holdings... This is the rebirth of an estate with unlimited potential. You are literally seeing a young man about to inherit a collection of vineyards that is almost unrivaled. I think this Champagne has universal appeal. It is a harmonious blend of all of its components: fruit, acid, terroir, wine making (lees, toast, brioche), etc. I also think it surpasses the expectations of the more nuanced Champagne consumer while remaining familiar enough to not alienate the more novice Champagne consumer. The source of the grapes is outstanding but so is the farming! Organic & Biodynamic farming practices are not the norm in Champagne.“



The PlumpJack Family

Champagne Ponson Premier Cru NV

From: 7 Premier Cru villages in the Petite Montagne. From north to south, these are: Vrigny,Coulommes-la-Montagne (their home town), Pargny-lès-Reims, Jouy-lès-Reims, Ville-Dommange, Sacy and Ecueil.

About the Winery:  Champagne Ponson and the Ponson family have owned and worked the vineyards for five generations. In 2011, after completing his enology degree, Maxime Ponson returned home at the age of 25. In a story that has repeated itself across time, he and his father did not see eye to eye in regards to winegrowing practices. His father Pascal had been resistant to conversion to organic as the use of chemicals had ensured a consistent crop throughout his life. A friendly bet was offered with a .5 hectare of the family’s land to be worked by organic means and the yield and quality compared to Pascal’s conventional approach. After a trial vintage in 

2014, Pascal was impressed with the results and the domaine began to convert to organic viticulture, a process nearly complete by the 2018 harvest.

Vinification: Winemaking starts with severe sorting in the vineyards, and pickers are paid by the hour, not by weight, which encourages them to take their time to choose the finest fruit. The goal is to severely scrutinize what makes it into the press, because with perfect grapes Maxime feels he can then let the wines do their work without much interference. He said, “The secret is not what I do in the cellar, it’s my vineyards and how I work them.” Maxime develops a natural yeast pied de cuve that originates from yeasts in his vineyards. The grapes are whole cluster pressed in a traditional Coquard basket press. Alcoholic fermentation lasts between ten days and two months and Maxime limits the maximum temperatures to around 16°-18°C. 

Elevage: Aged exclusively in stainless steel and concrete followed by four to five years on the lees in bottle before disgorging.

Assemblage:   70% Pinot Meunier, and 15% each Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the base wine from 2015

Dosage: 7 grams 

Tasting notes: “Creamy aromas of red and yellow apple, quince, lemon blossom, white mushroom, honeysuckle, hazelnut, and delicate purple flowers are woven around a strong core of mineral notes. The wine matches its rich body, but delivers an added layer of dense and creamy fruit, giving it a textured, yet ethereal feel” - Ian Cauble


Maxime Ponson

Price per bottle / Price per case:

$52/bottle           $561.6/case 

Suggested Food Pairing:

Sweet and Spicy Fried Chicken

Birria Tacos

Chicken Tikka Masala

Bulgogi Bibimbap

Champagne Caillez Lemaire Reflets Extra-Brut NV


Autre Cru (89%), Damery

About the Winery and Vinification: Husband and wife team Virginie and Vincent Vanpoperingh run this small family estate on the banks of the River Marne. Virginie’s family has been growing grapes since the 18th century and Raymond Caillez and Andrée Lemaire began making their own wines from the family plots in 1942. Annie and Henri Caillez took over in 1976 before passing along to their daughter and her husband in 2005. The estate holdings have grown from 2ha to just over 6ha and conversion to organic faming was certified in 2020 by EcoCert.

Elevage: Steel Vats, Wooden Barrels - at the estate on average for 6 months. The wine goes through partial malolactic fermentation and then is on lees for 5 yrs.
Assemblage: 45% Pinot Meunier 35% Pinot Noir 20% Chardonnay from 75% 2018, 25% 2017

Dosage: 5 grams

Tasting notes:  Cuvée Reflets displays a beautiful rose gold color with copper highlights. Fine, quick, and nourished effervescence adds to the festive and generous character of the visual presentation. The first impression on the nose honors the wine’s fruity character with notes of currant, pomegranate, and citrus. A few moments later, more elegant and subtle notes appear suggesting white flowers, pink grapefruit, and bread dough. Good length on the palate (lingering 7 to 8 seconds) releases intense fruit flavors of baked apple, candied quince and strawberry. Acidic and chalky sensations accompany the finish.


 Virginie Vanpoperingh

Price per bottle / Price per case:

$ 68/bottle           $734.4/case 

Suggested Food Pairing: 


White Sausage

Roasted Carrot soup with a

touch of orange. 

Salmon gravlax

Zucchini risotto

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