NV Champagne Dehours Œil de Perdrix ‘La Croix Joly’ Rosé Extra Brut
Region: Marne Valley < Champagne < France
Grapes: Pinot Meunier
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; old vines in the Lieu Dit ‘La Croix Joly’ with chalky limestone soils; grapes macerated on skins for a few hours (saignée method); 2015 vintage with 2g/L dosage; 103 cases
Winemaker: Jérôme Dehours
Domaine Dehours was founded by Jérôme's grandfather, Ludovic, in 1930 and was among the first independent growers. Jérôme’s father Robert continued the legacy but sadly passed away when Jérôme was too young to take over the family business. Unfortunately, a financial group with no passion for quality took control of the vineyards, but, in 1996, with the help of his brother-in-law, Jérôme bought the Domaine back. Inspired by the legendary Anselme Selosse, the godfather of Champagne’s organic, low-intervention movement, he immediately converted to organics. And, like Selosse, Jérôme is dedicated to maximizing the characteristics of each individual vineyard, unusual in a region known for blending. So, while he makes 6,500 cases per year (tiny to begin with), this is split into 12 different cuvées. Crazy, from a business point of view, but lucky for us drinkers, as it allows him to focus on (and us to experience) the unique terroir of each. Like this racy rosé that shimmers in the glass with salmon highlights, the beautiful rose-gold hue coming from a few hours of skin maceration. Called saignée, this practice is common in Provence but rare in Champagne, where most producers blend a still white wine with a still red to create rosé Champagne. The skin maceration gives the Œil de Perdrix more structure and intensity in a sleek, mineral-driven package. No sweet or bubble-gum flavors here, it is savory and herbal, with dried orange peel, citrus and red berries. Sort of an ‘un-rosé’ rosé Champagne. Pretty fabulous all around.