Located in the small village of Fossoy on the western side of the Vallée de la Marne, Benoît Déhu represents the 8th generation of his family’s estate founded in 1787, Déhu Père et Fils. Upon meeting Benoît for the first time, his passion is clearly expressive, while his humble attitude makes it easy to forget the extensive history of his family’s domaine. Focused on honoring the vision of his family but also passionate for biodynamic farming, Benoît decided to purchased 1.70 hectares of vines from his family. These vines are densely planted at 8,000 plants per hectare, plowed by horse and are committed to biodynamic farming practices. From this, he created cuvée La Rue des Noyers, a magnificent single-vineyard, single-vintage, pure pinot meunier champagne named after the local walnut trees that surround his vineyard. Along with this single cuvée, Benoît crafts Côteaux Champenois from his vines. The combination of meticulous farming and a “the devil is in the details” mindset has allowed Benoît to produce some of the most expressive and distinct examples of pinot meunier produced in all of Champagne. There’s only one problem, annual production is and will remain miniscule.
In the cellar, only indigenous yeasts are used and Benoît prefers all fermentation and aging to occur in oak barrels. Of course, any barrel will not do. The wine is vinified in barrels from trees Benoît owns, grown 30 minutes away in Meilleray and fabricated by a barrel maker in Champagne. All wines are unfined, unfiltered, and bottled extra-brut (a combination of cane and beet sugar is used for the dosage). In July 2018, Benoît released a new wine called “Cuvée Initiation”. Cuvée Initiation is also vinificatied and matured in oak barrel but will incorporate pinot noir from a small parcel at the bottom of the hill of La Rue des Noyers which Benoît planted using massal selection. He will soon be releasing a 100% pinot noir cuvée as well, which will be called L’Orme.
Benoît gained immediate attention upon releasing his first wine. In his Vinous November 2014 publication, wine critic Antonio Galloni commented, “Benoit Déhu’s NV (2011) Cuvée La Rue des Noyers is one of the most impressive wines I tasted this year. A vivid and crystalline Champagne, the Cuvée La Rue des Noyers possesses stunning depth, intensity and volume… What a gorgeous expression of Pinot Meunier this is.”