Burgundy’s Overlooked ‘Other’ White Wine

Burgundy’s Overlooked ‘Other’ White Wine

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

My instructor at BIVB once described Chardonnay as the drama-free, fair-haired child that gets along with everyone. But every family has at least one problem child passed over in lieu of a more popular one.

In Burgundy, it’s Aligoté, Burgundy’s ‘other’ white varietal, a more angular version of sibling Chardonnay. A thin-skinned, rather tart white grape grown in Burgundy, styles vary from unctuous to austere.

While Chardonnay dazzles wine lovers from Chablis to the Mâconnais, Aligoté resides primarily in the Côte Chalonnaise village of Bouzeron. Notably, the village grows the superior Aligoté Doré varietal, rather than the lesser clone, Aligoté Vert.

This does not mean that other areas of Burgundy do not cultivate Aligoté. Pockets of producers include Alice + Olivier de Moor of St. Bris in Chablis, Domaine Naudin-Ferrand of Magny-les-Villers, which straddles Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Hautes Côtes de Nuits, and Domaine Ponsot, Burgundy’s only Premier Cru Aligoté from Monts Luisants in Morey-Saint-Denis. I’ve also discovered some fuller, more luxurious Aligotés produced in Meursault.

One must admire Aligoté’s perseverance. Despite relegation to blending, segregation to Burgundy’s Bouzeron, and integration into the Kir Royale, Aligoté endures, and may yet prevail. With global warming on the rise, interest in this early-ripening grape increases across the wine region. (S)he who laughs last, may indeed laugh best.

A. & P. de Villaine counts at the top of Bouzeron’s Aligoté producers, today’s featured wine. If the name sounds familiar, the ‘A’ in A. & P. de Villaine stands for Aubert de Villaine of fabled Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Cote d’Or; his nephew Pierre de Benoist directs the domaine.

Tasting Notes

Wine: Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Bouzeron Aligoté

Vintage:  2014

Alcohol: 12.5%

Price: $32

Spec  (Note: Thanks to Soif Wine and Bar in Santa Cruz for stocking this wine.)

Robe:  Clear, pale gold hue.

Nez:    Discrete notes of mustard blossom, lemon, fleurs blanches.

Bouche:  Tart lemon zest, bright minerality; dry, light-bodied, vivacious.

I’ve chosen to pair this wine with a traditional recipe for gougères (cheese puff pastries) featured in the authentic French cookbook “Recipes from the Châteaux of Burgundy” by Gilles and Bleuzen du Pontavice, with photos by Claude Herlédan.

“Aunt Thérèse’s gourgères,” pg. 61

“50 cl. milk, 5 g. salt, 125 g. butter. Bring these ingredients to the boil. Remove from the heat and add 250 g. of flour. Stir for a minute over the heat to dry out the pastry. Remove from the heat and add eight (8) eggs, two by two, followed by 125 g of diced gruyere. Put into a greased ring-shaped baking tin or in small heaps onto a greased baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven.”

The recipe omits oven temperature ( Try 450 F.)

Good luck improvising with your own cheese variations – part of the charm of using these old recipes.

 June 17th 2017

concludes my guest hosting of 

The French #Winophiles 

A Virtual Tour of Burgundy, Part 2: Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais & Beaujolais.

 Here’s the Tour Guide for Part 2:

Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick serves up “Salmon and Morels with the Domaine Wines of Louis Max.

Jill Barth of L’Occasion shares “Historic Vineyards of Mâcon.”

Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog regales us with: A Journey Through Burgundy Part 2, Exploring Mâconnais with #Winophiles.

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley of Wine Predator takes on: “Bourgogne with Beef Bourguignon from an Instant Pot.”

Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest steers us through “Navigating Southern Burgundy: Mâconnaise and Beaujolais.

Jane Niemeyer of Always Ravenous explores Discovering Rully Chardonnay + Bouzeron Aligoté in Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise.”

Nicole Ruiz Hudson of Somm’s Table schools us with “Cooking to the Wine: Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte Claire Chablis with Clam and Burrata Pizza.”

Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm dips her toe in “Provence meets Burgundy.

Lauren Walsh of The Swirling Dervish swirls up Mercurey Rising: Pinot Noir from Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise.”

Link to the Virtual Tour of Burgundy, Part 1

I want to hear from you! Please leave your comments below. Cheers!

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved

Terroirist Tuesday: Côte Chalonnaise – Part 2

Welcome to Terroirist Tuesday! This week’s topic: Cote Chalonnaise, Part 2 of 3

by L.M. Archer, FWS

Welcome back, dear readers! Well, how did you do on last week’s Côte Chalonnaise Geek Quiz? Answers below:

1. The Cote Chalonnaise includes the following subregion(s): Côtes du Couchois

Nice try. Cote d’Or claims The Châtillonais , and Chablis the Grand Auxerrois.

Some other fun factoids about Côtes du Couchois:

  • It’s small – ~15 acres total. (~5.90 hectares.)
  • #1 Varietal: Pinot Noir.
  • It holds a Regional appellation: Bourgogne du Chouchois.

2. Côte Chalonnaise produces: More white than red wine.

  • White production = 55%
  • Red  production =  45%

Major white wine producing villages include:

  • Bouzeron: 100% Aligote.
  • Rully: Chardonnay accounts for 2/3 wine production  Also, the first Burgundian appelation to craft sparkling wine in the méthode traditionnelle, and the center of Burgundy’s Crémant de Bourgogne production.
  • Montagny: 100% Chardonnay.

3. Cote Chalonnaise soils: Most resemble Côte de Beaune to its north.

Complex question, just like Burgundy’s soils!

Here’s the story: A big, bad gap, called the Blanzy Rift, separates the Côte de Beaune from the Côte Chalonniase. Despite the rift,  the soils of northern Côte de Chalonnaise most resemble Côte de Beaune’s Jurassic limestone and marls.

Moving south, the soils age. Southern Côte Chalonnaise’s Montagny mix it up with Liassic and Triassic limestone, sand, clay and quartz.

4. Burgundy’s only village appellation for aligoté: Bouzeron.

Hold on to your hats for this one! Bouzeron is Burgundy’s only 100% Aligoté appellation!

A vigorous white varietal with bigger berries than that of Chardonnay,  Aligoté produces a lean, clean wine of medium weight.

Bouzeron’s most famous producer of aligoté’?  None other A. et P. de Villain of Cote de Nuits’ esteemed DRC.

Well, that concludes this week’s Terroirist Tuesday…hope you had fun and  learned something!

Join binNotes for the next Terroirist TuesdayCôte Chalonnaise, Part 3: Meet the Winemaker, featuring Agnès Dewé de Launay of Domaine du Meix Foulot, Mercurey. Santé!


binNotes travels closer to home this week for a peek inside the 2014  Washington State Wine Awards. Stay tuned!

Thank you: BIVB

Test your wine skills – take a binNotes Geek Quiz here:

Côte Chalonnais: Geek Quiz

Chablis: Geek Quiz

Maconnais: Geek Quiz

Burgundy Geek Quiz

Copyrighted 2012-2014. All Rights Reserved. All images courtesy of the author.

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