Tasted in La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne with Jean-Claude Bessin, 24 January 2019.
11 rue des Cours
89800 La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne
Tel: +33 3 86 42 46 77
Jean-Claude on 2018:
“Relatively easy; lots of dryness so less mechanical intervention was needed – less labour. The spring came early and the vines pushed well, there was just a little hail in Montmains and Valmur, but the vines compensated for that, so minor. The grapes matured very quickly in August that’s sure, but they were very clean and nice – not with enormous acidity, but it’s becoming more the rule if you’re harvesting in early September. In terms of the volume, psychologically I don’t think anyone could have hoped for it. 75% losses in the last couple of years, I had the hope that I might get close to the rendement, but I never for a moment thought that I’d pass it. Practically there was very little extra actual grapes but at the end they had a good size! None of the wines of 2018 have finished both fermentations so it’s impressive when some people already have wine in bottle!”
Jean-Claude on 2017:
“2017 – also quite catastrophic and principally for the same reason as 2016 in fact our yields were practically the same as in 2016, though it was just frost in 2017, unlike the trilogy of problems we had 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. In 2017 it was better in the commune of Chablis, less-so in the La Chapelle, so Fourchaume suffered more and all the climats were assembled – also tough in Forêts and Valmur – so different in each case but for the same volume – but there is a cuvee of Forêts in 17 unlike 16! I think we find a grand vintage, a classic vintage. After 2018 we have already forgotten how early this vintage is – only 4 times have I harvested in the first week of september, but this isn’t a sunny vintage with no acidity…”
The wines here were showing in a much more discreet fashion than I’m used to – I have to assume that this is down to the earlier bottling – they had not long been bottled when I visited. But in terms of elegance, complexity and perfume – they are on a very high level of attainment – this remains a favourite address for me…
All the wines are already in bottle, which is just a little earlier than most years, but given half a harvest in 2 years, that’s hardly a surprise. The period of elevage was 16 instead of 18 months here.
2017 Chablis Vieilles-Vignes
Starts floral, before the nose slowly starts to add a little lime. Nice shape, not too big, bubbling with modest energy, then takes off in the middle with a lovely line of finishing flavour. A backend-loaded wine of elegance.
2017 Chablis 1er Montmains
A first nose with a touch of barrel, then its gone – more vibrant, more mineral. Wide, energetic, but detailed and with clarity. Some early barrel accents that will be gone in another 6 months. Long, lingering – elegant again, beautiful.
2017 Chablis 1er Les Forêts
Ooh now that’s a perfume – a great nose. Ooh, that has drive, it has clarity, it has presence. Faintly citrus, round in the flavours, melting, long – great finishing – perfumed here too, really persistent and faintly saline. Really excellent!
2017 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
All parcels assembled – ‘there really wasnt very much…’
A wider, more freshly mineral nose but also with a certain perfume. Ooh that’s even wider, finer, and so beautifully assembled. A super 2017 1er… more overtly mineral finishing, narrower but very long in the finish.
A narrow nose, but of depth – a faintly mineral reduction, the fruit only slowly growing but with a zest of lemon. Ooh, deep, fine, beautifully textured, slowly growing with layers of flavour, a width of flavour too, almost with a phenolic touch at the base. Wide, wide, wide, and hauntingly long wine. Surely this will be great, though it’s clearly more discreet today than normal.