Profile: Domaine Besson

Update 2.2.2017(1.2.2017)billn

Tasted in Chablis with Camille Besson, 10 January 2017.

Domaine Besson
8 chemin de Valvan
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 40 88

Domaine Besson is a domaine that has come through four generations of winemakers. More than 21 hectares are farmed, producing the full range from Petit Chablis to Grand Cru. Alain Besson built the current cuverie in 1988, extending it in 2014 to aid lengthening their elevage from 12-18 months. The old house and cellar of the domaine were in the old part of Chablis.

Alain, who used to sell only about 10,000 bottles per year, selling the rest of the domaine’s produce in bulk. In 2013 he brought his two children, Adrien and Camille, into the domaine – today about 55,000 bottles are commercialised. 75% is exported – the markets are California first, Japan second. Camille says that “We could commercialise up to 150,000 bottles per year, but that’s not our objective, we want to stay a good small enterprise – 55,000 is enough!“.

Camille on 2016:
In 2016 we lost about 4 from 21 hectares of vines, so certainly it’s a small volume vintage for us in Petit Chablis and Chablis, but not catastrophic.

Camille on 2015:
For me its a good vintage, and very tasty. It’s not classic, it’s 2015!

The wines…

Normally there is some battonage, but hardly any in 2015, otherwise it is a normal elevage – a minimum 12 months for all wines including their Petit Chablis. The Chablis sees a small part, 3%, in barrel for 8 months. Vaillons 5% but none new, Montmains 8% with a little new oak but rather for the micro-oxygenation than the flavour. Probably all will be bottled by the end of February – commercialisation from the end of Match.

2015 Chablis
About 8 hectares worth, mainly from Fyé and towards Vaillons, plus another hectare in Courgis.
Open, fruity, clean and fresh. A little fuller, more floral with really rather complex fruit – not classic, but certainly delicious.

2015 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Beugnons, Chatans and Sechets, 2.45 hectares.
A faint green to the colour. A deeper, faintly mineral nose. Wide and fresh, green-fruited complexity, herb, fine mouth-watering energy, and lovely length. Almost a modest pyrazine accent to a fine mineral note – attractive and very tasty.

2015 Chablis 1er Montmains
Mainly from Butteaux plus a little Forets, about 5 hectares worth.
Wide, vibrant, a nicely mineral wine. Large volume, mineral, with very fine points of clean, fine, complexity – this is a beauty – I like this very much!

2015 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
0.99 ha – mid-slope, plain south.
Hmm, this aroma needs a little more coaxing from the glass, but there’s a subtle overlay of flowers over a riper base. Fresh, bright, beautiful mouth-watering acidity, saline.

2015 Chablis Vaudesir
1.4 ha on both hillsides, now assembled. Also 8% oak.
A tight nose but with some density. I wait for the gas to fade – there’s an extra ripeness of fruit – really a fine, muscular but fresh and alive palate. Big finishing wine – here it comes out from its shell – impressive at the end – it just needs more time.

2015 Chablis Les Clos
‘Just a few ares (15)’ – elevage all in stainless-steel as it’s a small cuvée. From the mid slope below the table d’orientation.
Hmm, a tight but deep and vibrant nose. This works its way over the palate beautifully – mineral, saline, complex and muscular but eminently pliable. A great persistence of flavour – very impressive indeed!

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