The Champagne house of Déhu Père et Fils was founded in 1787, two years before the French Revolution. The passionate and pensive Benoit Déhu represents the eighth generation of vignerons at this historic but under the radar estate located on the far Western edge of the Vallée de la Marne. After a fruitful stint at Bollinger, Benoit returned to the family domaine with a strong vision for future.
Benoit immediately began steering the domaine towards organic and biodynamic viticulture. Because the family Champagne house is well established, Benoit has the unique opportunity to both manage the estate and explore his passion for naturally farmed, handmade, artisanal Champagnes. In 2011, he peeled off 1.70 hectares of choice vines that he farms biodynamically, 0.40ha of which are worked with a horse. With these vines he crafts a single-vineyard, single-vintage Champagne called “Cuvée La Rue des Noyers” which he bottles under his own label, Champagne Benoit Dehu. The wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels, many of which were made from trees in the nearby forest of Fossoy. From this same parcel, Benoit also produces a Coteaux Champenois white and red. All three wines are made from 100% Pinot Meunier grapes. This extremely focused project allows Benoit to better understand the Meunier grape via three distinct expressions of Meunier from the same terroir.
In the 2015 vintage, Benoit added an additional Champagne to his arsenal: Initiation. This new cuvée is a blend of Meunier from La Rue des Noyers, and Pinot Noir from a small parcel dominated by clay and sand at the bottom of the hill, which Benoit planted using massale selection of Pommard clone from Burgundy.
The style of Benoit’s wines is intense, urgent and energetic, with beautiful tension, fine minerality, and a beguiling white flower aroma from the Meunier. Though production is miniscule – only 2400 bottles – fellow vignerons are taking note of Benoit’s work and he is developing an enthusiastic underground following. He has quickly established himself as a vigneron to watch in one of France’s most dynamic and progressive growing regions.