Since 1996, Jérome Dehours has given life back to this beautiful 14 hectare estate in the Marne Valley in Champagne. Inspired by the great Anselme Selosse, Jérome started with organically-grown vineyards by way of expressing each of the magnificent terroirs he has at hand. The Domaine predominantly produces Pinot Meunier, a varietal best suited to this cooler area of Champagne, but also Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Champagne connoisseurs seek out the Dehours Champagnes to find the renowned Meunier style; bold and flavourful with a clear terroir-orientated approach.
You can easily measure the strong passion that infuses everything at Domaine Dehours. This could be due, in part, to the troubled story of the estate. The domaine was founded in 1930 by Jérome’s grandfather, Ludovic, in Cerseuil, a very small village nestled on the south bank of the Marne river, home to cooler weather compared to a warmer climat in the Montagne de Reims. Jérome’s father Robert continued the legacy but sadly passed away when Jérome was only young, too young, in fact, to take over the family business. It was, unfortunately, a financial group who took control of the vineyards with no passion for quality or intent to improve the domaine.
In 1996, with the help of his brother-in-law Jean-Marc Laisne, Jérome bought the Domaine back and took full control, thereby changing the domaine’s destiny. With such passion and determination in an origin story, it is sure to be special and certainly not conventional. This perfectly sums up Jérome: there is nothing conventional at Champagne Dehours. Pinot Meunier is the king of the Domaine: larger houses have always considered it a lesser varietal that produced champagnes with added flavours of nuttiness, richness and texture to their selection. Jérome harnesses these characteristics and deftly balances each to create what is one of the most unique champagnes on the market.
With about 14 hectares of vineyard in the Marne Valley and just over 40 different plots, Jérome has a lot of diversity within the Domaine’s vineyards, each of them unique in character. Dehours’ vineyards are located on the south bank of the Marne River, a cooler site, known to produce more delicate, finer Pinot Meunier. The Domaine’s collection of vineyards is composed of 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir planted in the villages of Cerseuil, Mareuil-le-Port, Troissy and Oeuilly.
Jérome champions the diversity of his terroirs by producing single vineyard cuvées to highlight the differences of the microclimate and soil types. Since 1996, Jérome has grown the vineyards as organically as possible, with the flexibility to intervene when the pressure of disease is too high. This sustainable approach is paramount for Jérome and the quality of grapes is crucial to achieve complexity and balance. Historically, Champagne producers have been known to neglect the vineyards by using pesticides and chemicals in order to increase harvest yield.
That’s why Jérome started the Artisan of Champagne, a leading group of family-owned, small producers aiming to reinstate sustainable practices in the vineyard and work together on promoting the strong identity of each of these practices.
As for the style at Dehours, the wines are respectful of the rich and bold flavours of the Pinot Meunier with a vibrant energy the result of a low dosage from brut to extra brut cuvées. The wines are matured in old oak barrels to compliment their complexity and matured for an extensive time for a minimum of four years in the deep cellar. The reserve wines are matured using a Solera system whereby every vintage is blended, which was started in 1998 in a big oak vat.
About two thirds of the reserve is used every year to make room for the new vintage. This brings a very broad complexity to the Champagnes getting them a step closer to a rather vinous style. To compliment and push further his philosophy, Jérome releases single vineyard cuvées named after the vineyard of origin.
Constantly evolving, Champagne Dehours places identity, character and personality on a pedestal. With only 80,000 bottles produced every year (half of the production is sold to larger houses), these bottles are rare and undoubtedly delicious.
Clos Cachet is honoured to be importing these beautiful Champagnes in Australia. They are, in our view, some of the best Champagnes coming out of the Marne Valley.
The “Grande Réserve” is rich, fruity with silky mouth-fill.
The “Grande Réserve” in Magnum, 1.5 litres.