Aligoté

Aligoté is something I've not drunk for ages, though I was persuaded to buy some (still in bond) at the last burgundy en primeur tasting I attended, so when I saw a bottle on my latest visit to Berry's in Basingstoke I thought I'd check it out -
Bourgogne Aligoté 2017 - Domaine Rollin Pere et Fils. Light colour with a touch of green; nose a little reticent, with lemon and grapefruit; slightly appley on the palate, with zingy acidity. I think I need to get my case out of bond...
 
As Dan says,while I have no doubt whatever of its longevity. It is very different to previous iterations even after the stylistic change in 2016. I must open another one soon.
 
Aligote has been something of a revelation to me over the past couple of years. There´s something about its effortless energy that I find so utterly thrilling, particularly as it´s so hard to describe using typical wine terminology. At its best it´s such a visceral experience and coupled with the cool green fruits and herbal tinges of its youth, always makes me think of standing in a cold, fast stream somewhere remote and beautiful.

The best producers I´ve had the pleasure of trying over the last couple of years in no particular order:

De Moor - Don´t be put off by the "natural" tag. These guys make some incredibly mineral Chablis and their Aligote is perhaps the best I´ve ever tried.

A. Villaine Bouzeron - The benchmark for the appellation. Not particularly affordable in the context of Aligote anymore, but well worth the price-tag, particularly with a few years under its belt.

Charlopin & Tissier - As described above! I haven´t tried their 2018 but another lovely example from Marsannay, which seems to be the 2nd best terroir for the variety after Bouzeron.

Francois de Nicolay Bouzeron - A cracking example under the same ownership as Chandon de Briailles. I wish I´d bought more!

Benoit Ente - A more classically styled Aligote, I´m not overly familiar with Aligote in Puligny-Montrachet but the cut and cool, sea-breeze character certainly seems to fit the place.

JJ Confuron - A bit of a surprise! I was very lucky to snag a few bottles of the 2014 (very unappreciated here) and what a beautiful wine. Incredible QPR to boot.

Jean Marc Roulot - No surprise here, though not worth the price tag outside of certain restaurants in France and/or direct distribution.

I´ve heard great things about Patrick Piuzes "1953" though I have yet to track down a bottle, and I am very excited to be getting hold of some of Ramonet´s Bouzeron 2017 early next month! I think perhaps the most exciting thing about Aligote is its potential and how much further it might be explored. That and the very reasonable price tags.
 
I don't think I've ever had a top example of Aligote although I'd love to find some. I've got Louis Jadot's basic bottling ready for sometime next week and I recently had a very nice glass of Ramonet's Bourgogne Aligote which was very refreshing. I can see it being the sort of wine that doesn't impress so much as blending into a dinner/social occasion quite seamlessly, which is increasingly important for me.

It seems all the bottlings out here are 'Bourgogne' with no vineyard or area specified. A shame.

Ha! Seeing this and comparing to the above post... what a difference a few years can make.
 
Aligote has been something of a revelation to me over the past couple of years. There´s something about its effortless energy that I find so utterly thrilling, particularly as it´s so hard to describe using typical wine terminology. At its best it´s such a visceral experience and coupled with the cool green fruits and herbal tinges of its youth, always makes me think of standing in a cold, fast stream somewhere remote and beautiful.

The best producers I´ve had the pleasure of trying over the last couple of years in no particular order:

De Moor - Don´t be put off by the "natural" tag. These guys make some incredibly mineral Chablis and their Aligote is perhaps the best I´ve ever tried.

A. Villaine Bouzeron - The benchmark for the appellation. Not particularly affordable in the context of Aligote anymore, but well worth the price-tag, particularly with a few years under its belt.

Charlopin & Tissier - As described above! I haven´t tried their 2018 but another lovely example from Marsannay, which seems to be the 2nd best terroir for the variety after Bouzeron.

Francois de Nicolay Bouzeron - A cracking example under the same ownership as Chandon de Briailles. I wish I´d bought more!

Benoit Ente - A more classically styled Aligote, I´m not overly familiar with Aligote in Puligny-Montrachet but the cut and cool, sea-breeze character certainly seems to fit the place.

JJ Confuron - A bit of a surprise! I was very lucky to snag a few bottles of the 2014 (very unappreciated here) and what a beautiful wine. Incredible QPR to boot.

Jean Marc Roulot - No surprise here, though not worth the price tag outside of certain restaurants in France and/or direct distribution.

I´ve heard great things about Patrick Piuzes "1953" though I have yet to track down a bottle, and I am very excited to be getting hold of some of Ramonet´s Bouzeron 2017 early next month! I think perhaps the most exciting thing about Aligote is its potential and how much further it might be explored. That and the very reasonable price tags.
There's a couple more to add to my to try list.
Not tried JJ Confuron but the couple of whites I've drunk have been surprisingly good. Not seen F de Nicolay, Charlopin & Tissier's version nor Roulot. The latter won't be on my list as no doubt like Coche-Dury it will be excellent but too expensive. Benoit Ente's Aligoté is superior to his Bourgogne Blanc but his pricing is relentlessly ambitious & I suspect I will shortly stop buying his wines. His Aligoté now the same price as de Villaine.
If anyone like De Moor's style then I'd recommend tracking down Henri Naudin-Ferrand Le Clou 34 made by Claire.
 
2018 PYCM Aligote is just lovely... everyone knows this already, of course, but I still feel compelled to say so. So elegant, not grand but lovely. A perfect white swan of a wine - so elegant when you think about it, when you could easily pass it by.
 
The D'Auvenay mentioned above by Simon was beyond belief-what on earth does she do to make this wine, of indescribable decadence and opulence?

Looks like no one responded to this...

The vineyard is quite a steeply sloping, northerly exposed site in Auxey-Duresses (entitled only to the regional AOC, but representing a continuation of the slope that ends in Meursault. Here it is this Spring:

Domaine d'Auvenay Aligoté by WilliamGFKelley, on Flickr

The unplanted adjacent parcel to the left belongs to Bouchard Père et Fils. Sadly they don't want to sell it (I asked).

The canopies are allowed to grow high, with no trimming, and the resulting berries are very small by Aligoté standards, with quite open clusters and very low yields (looked like 25 hl/ha this year). I made a video in the vineyard after harvest this year which I could share if that would be of interest....

Then, as far as winemaking goes, it's whole cluster (no crushing) pressed in a pneumatic press (such is the concentration of the grapes that evidently this works just fine) before fermentation after almost no débourbage in 100% new very light toast barrels from François Frères. In this respect, it differs from the Domaine Leroy Aligoté (from vines in Puligny) which is fermented in tank. Duration of élevage can vary wildly, but the whites typically see two winters (which is not always the case for the reds) on the lees.
 
Is it just the canopies or is the vine density high too in the d'Auvenay parcel? Is anyone trying to emulate the wines?

No, Lalou has never experimented with high densities. I don't think she ever replanted a vineyard for either domaine, excepting a parcel of Pinot Noir in Auxey-Duresses that she replanted with Chardonnay (today it's d'Auvenay La Macabrée; as a red wine, it was the "Maison" though actually domaine Leroy Auxey red), something she told me she regrets. So density in this Aligoté planting is around 10,000 vines per hectare.

As for people trying to emulate the wines... one could point to Charles Lachaux's Aligoté bottling, which has the richness but not (or not yet) the tension, cut, or super concentration. Much more under the radar would be J-M Vincent's high-density cuvées in Santenay and Auxey-Duresses (works in progress, his 2019s are his best wines to date, but you can already taste the dry extract in his 2018 Auxey Hautés for example). I think Lamy's HD bottlings also intersect with the d'Auvenay wines in some places, even if the aesthetic is quite different in the end.

I think that at the end of the day, however, the d'Auvenay combination of 100% new wood and lots of bourbs is a high-wire act that not many people are willing to risk emulating.
 
As for people trying to emulate the wines... one could point to Charles Lachaux's Aligoté bottling, which has the richness but not (or not yet) the tension, cut, or super concentration.
Very interesting-I gather great things are happening at Lachaux now but I remember a case of the 05 Aligote being so very unpleasant in a horrible tinned mango sort of way that it's only the third case of wine I think I have ever returned.
I would be fascinated to see the video of the Auvenay Aligoté vineyard.
 
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