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Where do I start to tell you about David Pehu of Champagne Pehu Simonet?

PS-Banner-225I could start by telling you that he has vines in 5 different Grand Cru villages – no wonder his champagnes are good.

Perhaps I could tell you that he is converting part of his production to bio-dynamic and that would give you an insight into the care and attention he takes in his work in the vineyards.


Rather than either of these though, I prefer to start with David Pehu the man, because the thing I find most rewarding of all when I discover champagnes from small vignerons – yes, even more rewarding that tasting their fantastic champagnes – is getting to meet the people who make them. There are some real characters in Champagne and I’d certainly put David Pehu amongst them.

Vintage-225By his own admission he’s a bit of a maverick. He’s not much of one for joining clubs and associations. He enjoys doing things that other people don’t do and he’s not afraid to do things his way.

Take his labels for example. The bright, vivid colours really jump out at you. No doubt some people think they’re tasteless. I’m not sure that David is bothered by that, mind you. The main things for him are that he likes them and that the bottles get noticed.

Not that David is ostentatious; on the contrary he’s quietly spoken, but when you listen to him you can’t help but be impressed by his energy and by the sense that he is absolutely sure about what he’s doing. As you can imagine, that makes it really fascinating just to listen and learn.

He’s the type of guy that always has a new scheme on the go. One of the latest ones is helping a friend start up a micro-brewery in his home village of Verzenay. I’ve tasted the beer and it’s very good indeed. Next time you’re in Champagne I’ll take you there.

David-Pehus-Copper-Bath-225David is also the only person I know who has a copper bath in his office. I’ve threatened David that one of these days I’ll get a video of David in the bath with loads of bubbles, a cigar in his mouth and a flute of champagne Pehu Simonet in his hand. Fortunately David has a mischievous sense of humour and I feel quietly confident that, one day, he’ll agree to this crazy idea.

So what about the champagnes and the vineyards?

David has vineyards in Verzenay, Mailly, Verzy and Sillery, all Grand Cru and mainly known for Pinot Noir. His wife has vines in Mesnil-sur-Oger which means David can make a Grand Cru Blancs de Blancs too.

David doesn’t use malolactic fermentation – another example of him going against the main stream. This gives his champagnes an uncommon freshness and purity and to soften the acidity which the absence of malolactic fermentation might otherwise produce, he allows his champagnes to age longer than most other champagne makers do.

David makes no bones about it: his champagnes aren’t for the novice champagne drinker. What David enjoys making are champagnes that reflect that village and sometimes the individual plot they come from. Pehu Simonet champagnes aren’t the standard blended champagnes that you might enjoy sipping as an aperitif, but may not really notice much and would almost never remember. You need to give David’s champagnes a little more time and attention – not an unreasonable thing to ask given the amazing amount of work that goes into making them. You may find that you appreciate them best with a meal.

In the videos and audio recordings below you can get to meet David and discover his champagnes. I hope you enjoy watching and listening and I’d love to read your comment.

Wherever and whenever you find Pehu Simonet champagnes, do buy a bottle or two and try them. If you enjoy them, and I’m pretty sure you will, you can be reassured by knowing that you are in good company. Pehu Simonet champagnes have been specially recommended by Terry Thiese, one of the leading champagne experts in the world… and by me too.

In this video David Pehu tells us just why Blanc de Noirs champagnes from Verzenay are so special: