Champagne Dehours, “Grande Réserve” Magnum

Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France MV (1.5L)

In this brand-new installment of “Magnum Monday,” we had many Champagnes competing for the spotlight—I’m talking vintage, rosé, and bottles costing $100-$200—but when it came down to pure, bang-for-your-buck enjoyment, everyone yielded to Dehours’ “Grande Réserve.” Their best-in-class MAGNUM unleashed everything I crave in organic, endlessly rich, blue-chip Champagne, and did it for less than $100. For all those who already know about the excitement radiating from this small estate (and just how hard is to offer magnum bottles), secure a couple of these giants ASAP. For everyone else, read on to find out why these Champagnes are taking the world by storm.

When Jérome Dehours stepped off the plane and into the bustling streets of New York in 2016, it was his first time on American soil. And now, despite a strikingly tiny annual production, you can hardly frequent a trending restaurant or wine bar without spotting one of his labels. In an instant, he was touted as a rising star, with Forbes recognizing his label as “The Best Champagne You've Never Heard Of” and Peter Liem advising that should anyone come across Dehours, “buy them without hesitation.” If you still haven’t been introduced, today’s “Grande Réserve” magnum is the greatest welcome to this buzzing, high-style estate, and a perfect complement to its smaller sibling we offered early in the year. Utilizing a solera system—a battery of barrels containing aged wines dating back to 1998—for the backbone of today’s blend, Dehours delivers a level of complexity and depth rarely seen at this price point. This is a Champagne for in-the-know aficionados who are eager to make a little more noise at the end of 2019. Quantities are VERY limited. 

[*NOTE: Due to the wine’s large format, 'Build-a-Case' is unavailable.]

The oddity of Champagne is that its abysmal weather, while never celebrated, isn’t always shunned. A difficult terroir, plus cold, dreary weather, can produce the greatest crop imaginable if there is ample sunshine and dryness leading up to harvest. That’s why we're so excited about Jérome Dehours: He resolutely believes that his small pocket of vines in Rive Gauche (the “Left Bank,” or south side of the Marne River) are among the coldest and most difficult to work in the region. Still, he and his small team tend to these finicky vines carefully, making sure to avoid chemicals at all costs. 

It’s not just about organics in the vineyard, either: Jérome is also heavily focused on terroir specificity, which is why he owns over 40 unique plots throughout contiguous Rive Gauche villages. During our time in Champagne last year, we were fortunate to taste through his lineup of single-vineyard Champagnes and were floored with quality: Jérome is crafting some of the best site-specific wines in the entire region (we couldn’t stop talking about his ‘08 “Brisefer”). Still, an estate lives and dies by its annual non-vintage brut release, and Dehours’ “Grande Réserve” is as good as they come. 

It’s a Pinot Meunier-heavy blend from a selection of his prized sites in the 2015 vintage, although nearly a third of the wine is from his aforementioned battery of barrels (the solera) that was first started in 1998. The wine also undergoes malolactic fermentation (lending a creaminess that balances the fierce acidity) before aging over two years on its lees in bottle. It was disgorged and given a light dosage (sugar addition) of only five grams, then corked without fining and filtration—only a microscopic amount of magnums were produced. It’s also important to note that while he is technically registered as a négociant-manipulant—which means you can buy grapes from growers—Dehours does all the growing himself. He’s only registered this way so he can sell part of his own crop in order to financially support his own small production.

Dehours’ “Grande Réserve” offers so much more—especially out of magnum—than your typical non-vintage Champagne, really, it’s right there in the name. It’s certainly zipping with the Marne Valley’s cool-climate acidity, but with ample reserves from a decades-old solera, full malolactic fermentation, and the openness of Meunier, it explodes with a warm embrace of steely fruits, mineral-etched textures, and unwavering florality. You’ll pick up bright, high-toned notes of creamed yellow apple, plums, Rainier cherries, white peach, and crushed chalk that is underpinned by a noticeable brioche component. The palate is a touch surprising, in that it’s far more energized and peppy than the nose would lead you to believe. Still, it’s a round, supple Champagne that highlights crushed rock minerality while revealing an underlying note of salinity. Just be sure to opt for all-purpose white stems (avoid the flutes) and keep the serving temperature around 50-55 degrees—any lower and you’ll be hiding everything this wine has to offer. Not opening this for the upcoming holidays? No worries, it will age beautifully over the next five years. Cheers!
Print Tasting Notes Sold Out
Vallée de la Marne
Meunier 70%, Pinot Noir & Chardonnay 30%
Neutral Oak For Solera Blend
Service Temperature
All-Purpose White
Drinking Window

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