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Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2017

Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2017

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"Bessin's stunning 2017 Chablis Grand Cru Valmur opens in the glass with a complex bouquet of Meyer lemon, white flowers, peach, oyster shells, pastry cream and fresh mint. On the palate, it's full-bodied, satiny-textured and multidimensional, with broad shoulders, striking depth and concentration, racy acids and a long, searingly mineral finish. This bottling, which still flies under the radar compared to many of Chablis's finest wines, is well worth a special effort to seek out. Drink: 2023-2037. 96 points

As I wrote last year, the dour Jean-Claude Bessin produces some of the finest wines in Chablis, but his 12-hectare domaine in La Chapelle Vaupelteigne has suffered in recent years. When I therefore offered him my felicitations on the generous yields achieved in 2018, his response was to declare that it would require three successive vintages of 2018's copiousness to stabilize his precarious position. Bessin's 2017s, which I tasted from bottle on this visit, have turned out splendidly, and this estate really deserves to be talked about more, as it belongs among Chablis's top half-dozen domaines.

Bessin, as he puts it, loves the acidity and tension of Chablis on the condition that it's paired with substance and flesh, a philosophy that's admirably translated into practice in the form of wines with cut and concentration, texture and definition. Harvesting by hand, followed by fermentation and élevage in neutral wood and tank on the lees, for as many as 18 months, is the method by which they are produced. The resulting wines offer everything one's looking for in great Chablis."

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (244)