Domaine Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin

Benoît Droin is undoubtedly one of the most consistent growers of his generation. His collection of distinctive but cohesive Chablis are a series of mini masterpieces that each add up to a remarkable body of work. And each vintage he notches up is a reminder of his unwavering consistency.

This makes his wines a seriously attractive buy. Prices have remained reasonable, and yet show a Droin against any grander (more expensive) white Burgundy from the Côte D’Or and the Droin will at the very least hold it to a draw, if not positively run circles around it.

The 2022s remind Benoît of the 2017s and 2020s - two vintages we absolutely love. They share a great fruit intensity, and, though they all have the requisite components for fantastic long ageing, will drink well from their youth.

These are the work of a winemaker at the top of his game.

 

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2022 Chablis, Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin Dry | White | Still | 13%

Benoît’s village Chablis is one of the best (the best?) out there, and is always a fast seller. It has a strong following of fans who return to it year after year for its great value and high quality. It’s packed with fruit, and has an energy and persistence that propels it across the palate. There’s a nice chalky freshness and zingy lift.

Ready: 2024 - 2030

Jean-Claude & Romain Bessin-Tremblay

Romain Bessin has calmly stepped into his father’s shoes at the understated but superb domaine in the sleepy hamlet of La Chapelle Vaupelteigne. Like Jean-Claude, he is self-effacing and modest in a way that belies the confidence of the winemaking going on here.

These wines remain a relative secret, though they are beginning to gain a (well-deserved) wider reputation, thanks to the praise heaped on them by critics in recent years. These are Chablis with soul, and the 2022s are a set of wines you’ll want to get acquainted with.

The domaine continues to up its organic and biodynamic game with every vintage. The 2022s are visceral and full of life.

 

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2022 Chablis Vieilles Vignes, Jean-Claude et Romain Bessin-Tremblay Dry | White | Still

This old vine cuvée takes the prize for ‘hidden gem’ of our Chablis range. It comes from 40- to almost 70-year-old vines scattered across seven parcels, with a variety of soil structures and exposures. It is mineral, zingy, citrus and intense, with great drive and depth. Plenty of dry extract gives the palate a serious weight and mineral poise. This may be a wine of humble communal classification, but it has a profound character, and deserves special attention. Under Diam closure for the first time in 2022.

Ready: 2024 - 2032
2022 Chablis 1er Cru La Forêt, Jean-Claude et Romain Bessin-Tremblay Dry | White | Still

This is back after not being made in 2021, and it’s a brilliant return to form. The parcel sits right next to their Montmains parcel, separated by just a dirt track. It is incisive and pure, with a zippy intensity. Nervous and savoury.

Ready: 2024 - 2034

Samuel Billaud

Samuel left his family domaine to set up on his own in 2009, and over the past decade has carved out a place for himself among the top names in the appellation. Both Neal Martin and William Kelley now tip him as a topflight producer here. With a singular and energetic determination, he has accomplished this by sticking to one simple principle: making the kind of Chablis he likes to drink. This happens to be a taut, coiled style that lies at the tight, mineral end of the Chablis spectrum. He achieves this through early picking, minimal use of oak, and long ageing on lees. The wines are reductive, edgy, and piercing.

Samuel described his 2022s like a sharpened knife, and we can’t think of a better way to sum them up.

 

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2022 Bourgogne d’Or Chardonnay, Samuel Billaud Dry | White | Still

This cuvée was new to us in 2021, although Samuel has been making it since 2016. It sees Samuel with his négociant hat on, sourcing some excellent grapes from Mâcon and making a citrus fresh and zingy Chardonnay.

Ready: 2024 - 2026
2022 Petit Chablis, Samuel Billaud Dry | White | Still

Samuel jokes that this is ‘Petit Chablis deluxe’. It comes from a parcel just above Grand Cru Les Clos, and is a rare example of Petit Chablis grown on a high proportion of Kimmeridgian, rather than purely Portlandian, limestone. Although Samuel does not distinguish within his range, all the fruit here comes from his own vines, ie ‘domaine’. Indeed, it’s one of the parcels he was most determined to hang onto after splitting from his family estate in 2009. It was so badly frosted in 2021 that none was produced, so we are thrilled to have it back in 2022. It is focused and precise, with lemon zest and salty minerality running through it, and a peachy, smooth as silk length.

Ready: 2024 - 2027
2022 Chablis, Samuel Billaud Dry | White | Still

Samuel’s Chablis is an absolute go-to. It’s a blend of three parcels, picked and vinified separately. Together they contribute complexity, richness, and minerality: that’s a pretty good combination for a Chablis, with impressive depth of fruit and a satisfying, fleshy weight,and its persistent length is clean-cut and refreshing. It’s one of our fastest sellers each year, and invariably sells out en primeur, so you need to buy early (well worth having).

Ready: 2024 - 2030
2022 Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu, Samuel Billaud Dry | White | Still

This comes from three parcels, which are spread across the top, middle, and bottom sections of the premier cru. It is straight and incisive, with a concentrated, saline flicker on the finish. There’s a nice balance between fruit and minerality in this premier cru.

Young: 2025 - 2033