It was the first week of July this last summer that we were leaving Normandy and heading for the Baden region of Germany. After about four hours of driving, we finally saw the road sign for the small village of Ludes, about 15 kilometers south of Reims. Our destination was a one night stopover at the very fine, small production Champagne house of Domaine Ployez-Jacquemart. As we made our way through the narrow streets we finally saw the logo sign with the letters PJ displayed high above the right side of a tall iron gate. As we entered the parking area we were warmly greeted by the staff and invited into the main house, built in 1930 for Marcel Ployez and his wife, Yvonne Jacquemart. Many of the rooms are now part of a recent Bed and Breakfast conversion to the main house, with a dining room where exquisite food and their full range of Champagne are offered.
After a brief time of settling in, we then began our tour of the winery. It is here, under the watchful eye of director and winemaker Laurence Ployez, that a blend of grapes from their own Grand Cru vineyards as well as the fruit from a small number of growers is selected. First, we saw the beautiful wood and iron wine press about 8 feet in diameter displayed there like a fine sculpture, from which only the “pure cuvees” or first pressings are taken. Then we descended down a narrow concrete stairway to the cellar 75 feet underground where thousands of bottles were resting painstakingly stacked one on top of the other upside down. When you see the care and time invested to make a fine Champagne like this, it just reinforces my belief that Champagne is one of the best wine values dollar for quality. Then we made our way back to the main house and tasted the results of all the passion and dedication required to produce such superlative wines.
If you are planning a trip to this part of France, then I highly recommend that you visit or even stay at Domaine Ployez-Jacquemart. If not, then make the trip to our store and try a bottle of either the superb “Extra Quality Brut” or “Extra Brut Rosé” and experience first-hand the exceptional quality Champagne produced by this fine estate.
Extra Quality Brut – ($35.99) The Extra Quality Brut is aged for a minimum of three years and is a blend of Premier and Grand Crus with a majority of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, approximately 60% black grapes and 40% white. Golden in color and detailed, it shows toasty, bread crust flavors with a long clean crisp finish.
Extra Brut Rose – ($39.99) The Rosé Champagne is only made when the quality of the black grape harvest is extraordinarily good. The cuvee is the same as for the Extra Quality Brut except for the addition of barrel aged red wine, from the Champagne hillsides, to ensure the the color remains consistent. It has beautiful pink color and fresh bouquet, raspberry tinged flavors and round texture, tapering to a clean dry finish.
Gary M., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant