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Jean-Claude Bessin – 2014

DSC09180Tasted in La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne with Jean-Claude Bessin, 13 January 2016.

Domaine Bessin
11 rue des Cours
89800 La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne
Tel: +33 3 86 42 46 77

I am already, I think, getting the hang of visiting Jean-Claude. Each year we spend the first five minutes discussing the hardly appropriate timing of the tasting, as the wines have just been assembled, or not, are being fined, or not, et-cetera. But every year, whether the wines are bright, or not, gassy, or not, it’s a great tasting from a great producer!

Jean-Claude on 2015:
“We had hail, lots in Montmains and Forêts, losing up to 50%; 20 hl/ha in Montmains, 28 hl/ha in Forêts. There was some damage in Valmur too, but only a little, as it was really at the edge of the storm. We started harvesting 4 days later; the first day looked a catastrophe, almost the impression that there would be nothing to harvest, but two days later it was apparent that it would be not so bad, and the weather forecast was also not bad. We did 3 hectares in 2 days – the grapes were well dried. Of course, much of the 110mm of the rain ran away, but a good percentage of that was absorbed by the grapes, and it made a big difference to the overall yields.”

Jean-Claude on 2014:
“We had almost the same yields as in 2015. Lots of coulure in the grand crus, Fourchaume too. About 45 hl/ha for the Chablis. Really a ‘grand classique’ year.”

The wines…

In March JC will start to bottle the rest of his cuvées – when “they should have more clarity and purity” he says.

Clearly not all the wines are finished, but this is simply a great address – as usual.

2014 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
Bottled in December.
Bright and fine – a little discreet but lovely. Width and a lovely flowing flavour over the tongue. Slowly fading, excellent wine.

The following wines were samples from tank, the wines on their lees:

2014 Chablis 1er Montmains
Mmmm… Lovely wide, discreet but complex fresh nose with a suggestion of wood in the background. A modest gas that melts but the layers of flavour take over. A discreet salinity, and a silky width. Yum! Really super finish too…

2014 Chablis 1er Les Fôrets
More direct, narrower nose, a suggestion of white pear flesh. Very wide in the mouth, a more obvious agrume width of flavour – again rather wide. Even wider after swallowing, lovely, lovely length… Yum!

2014 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
A deeper nose, riper lime notes and a certain reductive impression. Also faintly reductive flavour, but here is a flowing flavour, deeper than Forêts, weightier too. Again very silky, with real density in the mid-palate, very long again. Excellent and very, very different!

2014 Chablis 1er Fourchaume La Piece au Comte
A fabulous nose, it vibrates with energy, a mineral nose that’s really very inviting. Wait for some gas to melt then really energetic, faint wood references, but amongst many, many… A bit of a crescendo of fresh, mouth-watering flavour here. Modestly finishing but long – bravo!

2014 Chablis Valmur
This starts really very discreetly; slowly a vibrant core of beautifully fresh fruit is revealed. Again we wait for a hint of gas to melt. Width, more measured energy after the comte, but energy nonetheless, and a more intense impression the flavour width. Agrume fruit and delivered in waves after you finish. The ‘Comte’ is more outspoken today, but here is a hint more depth – a great finish again.

Two blind wines to finish:

2008 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
An intense core of bright but pure fruit – suggesting pineapple a little. In the mouth too, but gorgeous fresh flavour with some salinity. Ooh that tastes good! Subtly long too.

2006 Chablis Valmur
This is light, young coloured but has some aromatic development – salinity, but perhaps supported with a faint forest mushroom. Less acid, rounder, layered flavour. Lovely minerality and then… A fresh little peak of flavour. Tasty wine that’s mineral but clearly a less acid vintage. I nailed the vintage but guessed it was the ‘Comte’…

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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