Chablis enjoyed a very successful 2015 vintage. Limited hail damage affected top sites such as Les Clos and Les Blanchots, however overall the summer was benign and the harvest came early. Compared with 2014, which was a more classic vintage, the 2015s have higher ripeness and slightly lower acidity, very concentrated, which really is an impossible combination to dislike. The agreeable acidity levels and mouthwatering minerality, will without doubt give great pleasure in the short to medium term.
Domaine Jean-Claude Bessin, was an exciting addition to our portfolio this year, most of us eager to try the wines that have been causing such a stir in Chablis. Jean Claude has been the winemaker of the domaine since 1992, originally trained to be an architect- his passion for wine and the vineyards bought him to this destiny. Now he works together with his son Romain at the winery and is slowly converting their vineyards to biodynamic farming.
The selection of old vine Chablis is the principal technique of the domaine. The wines have a long period of elevage on fine lees and Jean-Claude is adopting non-intervention policy towards the vines, indeed we are very proud of this sleeping domaine, which has until now, passed under the radar- but not for long. The scores that Allen Meadows bestowed upon Bessin weren’t far behind those of Dauvissat, if you’re in the market for a good value Chablis or White Burgundy, this domaine hits the target.
Last week we have opened two of his villages and one 1er Cru. The village was very straightforward, and is delicious now – fresh with plenty of lovely green fruit. Meanwhile, the Vieille Vigne had a good structure and impressive depth. To me, the 1er Cru Foret was still quite tight, and so I’ll reserve judgement until we try again in a few years time!
BESSIN, Chablis 2015 – AM90
Vine age: 16 to 49 years old
Soil: Shallow soils resting above the Portlandian bedrock and Kimmeridgian marl.
Plantation density: 7,800 vine stocks per hectare
Vinification & Elevage:
- Pneumatic pressing of the whole bunches.
- The wine goes through both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation (100% completed) with indigenous yeasts, using temperature control.
- matures in tank and a small portion in oak barrels (no new oak) for 9 months
Production: 8,400 bottles
Tasting note: With great limpidity, the wine is fresh, full of fruit, and displays a mineral finish. The aromas and flavuors express themselves even in youth.
BESSIN, Chablis Veillle Vigne 2015 – AM90
Vine Age: Planted in 1950-1974, 1996 (Mean year1972, avg 43 years old)
Soil: Fine Portlandian soil and Kimmeridgian marl
Plantation Density: 6,400 vines/hectare
Elevage: The wine matures on fine lees in tank for 18 months total.
Production: Roughly 24,000 bottles (2,000 cs) annually
Tasting note: There is excellent Chablis character and especially so for the vintage along with notes of apple, pear and floral scents. The nicely concentrated medium weight flavours possess good volume and punch before concluding in a lightly mineral-inflected, clean and balanced finale.
BESSIN, Chablis 1er Cru Foret 2015 – AM91
Age of vine: Planted in 1967, 1968, 1970, 1974 (Mean year 1970, avg 45 years old)
Soil: Kimmeridgien limestone marl with clays of all colors. Well-drained due to the presence of stones.
Plantation densit: Vine plantation density is 6,000 vines per hectare.
Vinification & Aging:
Whole clusters are pneumatically pressed. Fermentation aging take place partially in oak barrels and partially in small, temperature-controlled tanks. 0-10% new oak barrels are used, depending on vintage. Additional aging on fine lees for 10 months after malolactic fermentation is completed.
Production: Roughly 6,500 bottles per year (540 cs)
Aging potential: 10 years
Tasting note: There is fine density to the energetic and delineated mineral-inflected flavours that possess a robust texture on the saline, sappy and solidly persistent finale.
– Nickolle Chau