Benoit Dehu

Champagne, France

At a Glance
  • After a defining period at Champagne Bollinger, eighth generation Benoit Déhu returned to his family’s historic (pre-French Revolution) estate on the western edge of the Vallée de la Marne.
  • With a vision toward natural viticulture and a desire to deeeply understand the potential of the Meunier grape, Benoit roped off a 1.7 hectare parcel known as “La Rue des Noyers”, which he farms biodynamically and partially ploughs with a horse. From this parcel he makes a Champagne and a Coteaux Champenois white and red, all made from 100% Meunier.
  • Wines are fermented and aged in oak barrels, many of which are made from trees in the nearby forest of Fossoy. The resulting wines are intense and vibrant with a driving minerality. 

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.

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 under his own label, Champagne Benoit Déhu. In 2011, he peeled off 1.70 hectares of choice vines that he farms biodynamically, 0.40ha of which are worked with a horse. From these vines he crafts a single-vineyard, single-vintage, single-variety Champagne called “La Rue des Noyers”, named for the parcel that was once bordered by hazelnut trees (Noyers). The wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels, many of which are 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% Meunier. This extremely focused micro-project allows Benoit to gain a better understanding of the Meunier grape via three distinct expressions of Meunier from the same terroir. 

In the 2015 vintage, Benoit introduced two new Champagnes to his arsenal: "Initiation" and "L'Orme". Initiation 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 Pommard clone from Burgundy. The second addition, L'Orme, is made of 100% Pinot Noir from a tiny parcel previously planted with elm trees (Orme), and captures the attributes of complexity, personality and class that make Déhu Champagnes so alluring. 

The style of Benoit’s low- and zero-dosage wines is intense, urgent and energetic, with beautiful tension and fine minerality. Though production is miniscule – less than 4,000 bottles – fellow vignerons and wine professional are taking note of Benoit's work, earning him an enthusiastic underground following. He has quickly established himself as a vigneron to watch in one of France’s most dynamic and progressive wine growing regions.