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Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2017

Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2017

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"A cuvée that this year included fruit from La Fôret that Bessin deems less interesting, the 2017 Chablis 1er Cru Montmains was matured entirely in wood and reveals notions of almond paste, minty peaches, white flowers, apple and fresh pastry. It's medium to full-bodied, ample and enveloping, with lively acids, good concentration and a saline, stony finish. Bessin observes that it's a touch more marked by its élevage, as the cuvée was so small this year, but that's the criticism of a perfectionist. Drink: 2020-2035. 93 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)