Jean-Claude Bessin – 2016

Update 22.1.2018(11.1.2018)billn

Tasted in La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne with Romain and Jean-Claude Bessin, 11 January 2018.

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

Jean-Claude on 2017:
2017 – also quite catastrophic and principally for the same reason – our yields were practically the same as in 2016, though it was just frost in 2017, unlike the trilogy of problems in 2016. We had 7 days of frost so we’ve about 25% of a regular harvest, the frost drying the leaves and buds leaving them like tobacco. It was also quite a sportive vintage – lots of work – in the heat of the summer it was practically not possible to work in the afternoon with 38° in the vines. But it was certainly a simpler vintage to work than in 2016.

Jean-Claude Last year on 2016:
“I almost prefer not to talk about it – it was really catastrophic. Mainly due to the frost, we had hardly any hail. The Forêts and Montmains was badly hit – 4 hectolitres per hectare! Perhaps the vines were not in the most robust shape after the hail in 2015. It had been very wet too, so it was almost impossible to make all the treatments, so there was also the problem of mildew. In the end a nice and dry summer, gave us nice clean grapes – we finished in good conditions and what was lost was lost! overall we lost 80% – it was a tough year, even my tractor broke down!”

Jean-Claude is not a man of hyperbole but after tasting I instantly understood what he meant when he said – “​In 28 years its my best vintage – complete wines – before filtration the wines had a little more marine style noses but they will come back

The wines…

There are only 4 cuvées in 2016 – the miserly yields having been assembled – so no separate Forêts or Piece au Comte. ​The wines had also just been filtered so Jean-Claude described them as ‘complicated to taste.’ All were tasted from tank this year.

I don’t know about being the best that Jean-Claude has ever made, but these wines are the best that I have ever tasted here – and I already rate this domaine very highly. There is not much, but the wines are worth a special search.

2016 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
8 parcels in this wine…
A wide, nicely vibrant and fresh nose. Ooh intense, supple, pure, mineral and long – not an ounce of austerity either – really a great first wine of the day – bravo!

The following two showed a less overt energy vs the first and last wine – probably the filtration – but great wines none-the-less:

2016 Chablis 1er Montmains
This year also containing the domaine’s Forêts – and still only 5 hl/ha.
Ooh, deeper with a suggestion of green-skinned fruits. Layered wide silky wine – less overt attack but more contemplative – absolutely delicious and with super-impressive, super-persistent length…

2016 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
Vines located in the heart of Fourchaume, this including the Piece au Comte parcel in 2016.
Vibrant almost suggesting a reductive quality to the minerality. Supple, layered, a halo of acidity pushing the flavour long into the finish – opening out wider and wider – special, really getting wider and wider – such impressive stuff….

2016 Chablis Valmur
Ooh – great nose – rippling, bubbling, vibrating width – more than depth. Saline, large-scaled, detailed. One of the great wines of the vintage – wow! Reverberates with long minerality in the finish – great wine…

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