The 2020 Chablis Vaudésir Grand Cru has a bit of SO2 reduction on the nose, though this gradually blows away. It doesn't reveal much, and I find others convey more personality.
The palate is well balanced with a fine lime and orange pith entry and good weight, yet it needs more detail and mineralité towards what feels like a rather conservative finish.
Tasted blind at the BIVB tasting in Chablis.
Drink 2023 - 2032
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (June 2022)
About this WINE
The Domaine has a rich history dating back several generations, and it remains a family-owned and operated estate. This heritage has been passed down through the years, preserving time-honoured winemaking traditions while embracing modern techniques and innovations.
The estate's vineyards are meticulously tended, with a strong emphasis on sustainable viticulture practices. The region's cool climate and unique limestone-rich soils, known as Kimmeridgian soils, create the ideal conditions for growing premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
Domaine Besson's portfolio includes an array of wines that demonstrate the distinct characteristics and complexity that these grapes are famous for. From vibrant and elegant whites to nuanced and expressive reds, each wine reflects the true spirit of Burgundy's winemaking heritage.
The winemaking philosophy revolves around minimal intervention, allowing the grapes to shine through and express their unique terroir. Careful hand-harvesting, gentle pressing, and controlled fermentation are integral.
Environmental stewardship is a core value, as the estate embraces sustainable viticulture practices to protect and preserve the land for future generations. By employing eco-friendly methods and promoting biodiversity, they ensure that their wines reflect the purity of nature.
Chablis Grand Cru
These are the biggest, richest and most complex Chablis, which cover a total of 100 hectares – just two percent of the appellation. At their best, they can match the quality of a Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte d’Or, yet often at half the price.
They may lack their southern neighbour’s opulence, but they share the latter’s intensity and have a nervy minerality that set them apart. Inexpressive in youth, they should ideally be aged for 10 years, and can mature for up to 30 years. Styles vary according to producer, with some maturing and fermenting in stainless steel while others use barrels, sometimes even new oak.
All seven Grands Crus are grouped together on a single south-west-facing hill just north of the town. La Moutonne is an unofficial eighth Grand Cru straddling Les Preuses and Vaudésir, and is allowed to use the name on its label. The rich, fine Les Clos and the intense, spicy Vaudésir are generally considered to be the best, and are certainly the most full-bodied.
The delicate Blanchots and the racy Grenouilles are the most aromatic, while Les Preuses is full, complex and the least minerally. Valmur is fragrant, rich and smooth while La Moutonne is elegant and incredibly expressive. The vibrant Bougros tends to be the junior member of the group, but in the right hands can also be very good.
Recommended producers: Billaud-Simon, Duplessis, J.-P. & Benoit Droin.
Chardonnay is often seen as the king of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.