Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay
An Old Domaine With a Strong New Following
"this estate really deserves to be talked about more, as it belongs among Chablis's top half-dozen domaines" -William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
The story of Domaine Bessin-Tremblay is not new but it is a narrative that we crave, with a theme that is common to many of the finest wine producers across all of the world's classic wine regions.

The Tremblay family have held prime vineyard land in Chablis for generations but they were farmers, nothing more, attentive and careful, but without ambition to do more than send a healthy harvest off to the cooperative each year. Cue a new generation, or a wedding to new blood, and things change. Like so many other magical estates, the story is the same, Jean-Claude Bessin married into the Tremblay family and took up the reins, farming the vineyards and then in the magical vintage of 1992, he bottled and released the family's first vintage.

In the 30 years that followed the world has changed. Chablis was a bit behind the Cote d'Or being even more dominated by a handful of major vineyard owners, the coop and distant Burgundian negociants. Less attention was given to the small estates, other than the likes of Raveneau or Dauvissat, who themselves took a long time to be fully appreciated, but the last 10 years has brought a real shift in perception and appreciation of tiny but quality conscious producers like Bessin-Tremblay and we are happy to be on that train.

Bessin is among a handful of relatively unknown Chablis domaines that are about to become the new currency. We've highlighted others like Droin, Testut and Pico; they all deserve attention, but today, we are offering a serious shot at Bessin Tremblay. Quantities are small, quality is high.

The Crus
The jewel in their crown is 2 precious hectares of Valmur. It is a great grand cru Chablis and absurdly under-priced at this time.

There are small parcels in three top 1er crus, Montmains, Foret and the thoroughbred, Fourchaume, which they divide into their generic 1er cru and a further sub designated plot they call Fourchaume 'La Pièce au Comte.' These, like other good producers' 1er cru Chablis, are about the best value Chardonnay in the world.

The majority of their village level is old vines and bottled as Chablis Vieilles Vignes with a small amount appearing as Chablis AC. Both are fresh and lively, hugely useful, 'food wines' to be opened and drained without ceremony!

All wines are in-stock and available now other than the 2021s, which are due to arrive in September.
Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis Valmur 1.5L 2018
1 bottle available; $165 per bottle
94 points Wine Advocate: "The 2018 Chablis Grand Cru Valmur has turned out brilliantly. Unusually demonstrative for a young Valmur chez Bessin, it bursts with aromas of citrus oil, apple blossom, crisp orchard fruit and wet stones. Medium to full-bodied, round and fleshy, it misses some of the cut and tension of a top vintage, but its charming, open-knit profile means that it will offer considerable near-term appeal."

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis Foret 2019
9 bottles available; $59 per bottle
93 points Wine Advocate: "Bright and charming, Bessin's 2019 Chablis 1er Cru La Forêt mingles notions of white flowers, lemon and apple with hints of beeswax and oyster jus. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and layered, with a tightly wound, concentrated core, bright acids and a chalky finish, it's a lovely wine. Drink: 2023-2040."

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis Fourchaume 2019
9 bottles available; $59 per bottle
94 points Wine Spectator: "Clean, precise and expressive, this white exudes fresh lemon, apple, floral, lanolin and mineral aromas and flavors. Harmonious and leaves a mouthwatering impression, with the essence of lemon and stone. Approachable now, yet should age gracefully."

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis Montmains 2019
12 bottles available; $59 per bottle
93 points Burghound: "A slightly riper nose displays notes of pear, apple, petrol, quinine and an interesting white pepper hint. The more elegant if a bit less concentrated flavors exude a beguiling minerality on the pure, refined and markedly dry finale that evidence some youthful austerity along with fine depth and persistence. Lovely. 2025+"

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis Valmur 2020
7 bottles available; $85 per bottle
96 points Wine Advocate: "The 2020 Chablis Grand Cru Valmur is another reference point wine from Bessin, unwinding in the glass with aromas of citrus zest, fresh peach, white flowers, oyster shell, beeswax and blanched almonds. Full-bodied, satiny and layered, with racy acids and a taut, concentrated, impressively chiseled profile, it concludes with a long, iodine-inflected finish."

The Bessin-Tremblay Chablis Grand Cru Valmur absolutely shines, demonstrating the brilliant quality of the terroir and the considered skills of the winemakers.
Vines for the Valmur range in age from relative babies (planted in 2000) to old but sprightly (planted in 1947), which helps to aid the complexity of the wine. Stainless steel and neutral oak help to elevate the fruit, showing peach, citrus and blossom with some pleasant creaminess and minerality.
For a grand cru Chablis, this is an incredibly low price, providing immense value for money and a drinking experience that will be rewarded by some patience.

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis Fourchaume 2020
12 bottles available; $55 per bottle
93 points View From the Cellar: "The typicité of the 2020 vintage is so clearly apparent in the Bessin’s cellars this year, and I would be happy to submit their ’20 Fourchaume as the perfect expression of this terroir to wine lovers who are not already familiar with it, as it is an absolute classic example. The bouquet is pure and very, very precise out of the blocks, offering up scents of pear, apple, wet stone minerality, dried flowers, just a whisper of smokiness and a lovely topnote of what I have always called Fourchaume’s “woodsy” character. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and full, with lovely depth at the core, fine focus and grip, a lovely foundation of minerality and a long, bright and zesty finish. The girdle of acidity here is lovely. Fine juice. (Drink between 2025-2060)"

The Bessin-Tremblay Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume comes from one of the most well-known vineyards in Chablis, proving yet again why this patch of dirt is so lauded.
Domaine Bessin-Tremblay's portion is relatively small, at 1.15 hectares, with vines planted between 1959 and 1971 (yes, they are very old). Around 30% old oak is used for the wine, creating a pure expression of Chablis with its oyster shell, saline and white flower characters.
The structure and persistent length adds layers of enjoyment on top of this complex and captivating wine that isn't even showing its best yet, so be patient.

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis La Foret 2020
12 bottles available; $55 per bottle
93 points Wine Advocate: "Mingling aromas of citrus zest green apple and white peach with notions of nutmeg and white flowers Bessin's 2020 Chablis 1er Cru La Forêt is medium-bodied satiny and incisive with racy acids and a bright saline profile. Beautifully balanced it will offer a broad drinking window."

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis VV 2020
31 bottles available; $35 per bottle
(91-92) points View From the Cellar: "The 2020 Vieilles Vignes cuvée seems to have recovered a bit better from the bottling than the straight villages, but this may simply be a reflection of the superior depth and elegance of the old vines weighing in here. In any case, this is going to be an excellent bottle and a superb value this year, as it offers up a very promising bouquet of pear, tangerine, fruit blossoms, a lovely, almost flinty sense of chalky minerality and a hint of the beeswax to come with bottle age. On the palate the wine is bright, deep and full, with a lovely core, superb mineral drive and grip, bright tangy acids and a long, nascently complex finish. This is clearly going to be outstanding with a few years’ worth of bottle age. (Drink between 2024-2050)"

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Valmur 2021
ETA: September
24 bottles available; $75 per bottle
(92-94) points Burghound: "Firm reduction blocks an evaluation of the nose. Otherwise, there is superb intensity to the mineral-driven, dense and overtly powerful larger-scaled flavors that conclude in a chiseled, palate staining and beautifully long finale. This overtly salty effort is packed with development potential and should easily reward a decade plus of keeping. Strongly worth considering. (Drink starting 2031)"

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Fourchaume 2021
ETA: September
18 bottles available; $55 per bottle
(91-93) points Burghound: "This too is very firmly reduced though once again there is really lovely underlying tension suffusing the bigger-bodied flavors that also possess a beguiling texture while delivering notably better depth and persistence on the balanced and youthfully austere finale. Good stuff and this too is worthy of your interest. (Drink starting 2028)"

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Montmains 2021
ETA: September
6 bottles available; $55 per bottle

Jean-Claude Bessin Tremblay Chablis VV 2021
ETA: September
18 bottles available; $40 per bottle
(89-91) points Burghound: "Firm reduction renders the nose impossible to assess though there is both excellent concentration and energy to the beautifully textured middleweight flavors that exude a refreshing salinity on the bitter lemon-inflected finale. This is a very fine villages and worth checking out. (Drink starting 2026)"


DIRECT | 415 350 3127 (Michael)

DIRECT | 503 602 0306 (Mark)

2266 Central Street #3A
Richmond, CA 94801

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