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

A Tour of Burgundy, Part 2 | Not Too Late to Join Us June 17th!

Greetings! I’m away June 14th – June 18th at 2017 Celebrate Walla Walla Wine

but wanted to remind you:

I’ll still be hosting The French #Winophiles 

Tour of Burgundy, Part 2 – June 17th – 10 a CST

Scroll below for the Tour Guide…and a few fun facts!

This month the #Winophiles’ ‘virtual’ Tour of Burgundy wends its way south through the Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Beaujolais subregions.

A Few Facts about the Côte Chalonnaise:

  • Contains irregular slopes with varying expositions, not always eastern facing, often separated by fields, woodlands and pastures, rather than a continuation of the Côte d’Or.
  • Also includes the Couchois, five communes east of Côte Chalonnaise known for producing robust, expressive Bourgogne Rouge and Blanc regional wines.
  • Contains no Grand Crus.
  • Production: ~62% red, 38% white
  • Principal Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligoté, Gamay (Gamay used in regional AOC’s Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire and Passe-Tout-Grains.)
  • Derives its name from the industrial, non-vinious village Chalon-sur-Saône.
  • Principal communes:
    • Rully: Northern village renown for crémant de Bourgogne; also produces reds and whites.
    • Bouzeron:  Primary source for Burgundy’s finest Aligoté.
    • Mercurey: Producer of high-quality reds on par with some of Côte d’Or’s finest premier crus.
    • Givry: Another producer of quality value red wines.
    • Montagny: Southern aromatic white wine-producing village.

A Few Facts about the Mâconnais

  • Considered the true start of “Southern Burgundy,” with a warmer climate than Northern Burgundy, and featuring more Romanesque architecture.
  • Undulating hills crescendo southward into massive rock outcroppings, including the famous rocks of Vergisson and Solutré (seen above.)
  • Contains no Grand Crus.
  • 85% vineyards planted to Chardonnay.
  • Major producer of quality white wines, as well as rustic reds sourced made mostly from Gamay.
  • Principal Communes:
    • Pouilly-Fuissé
    • Pouilly-Vinzelles
    • Pouilly-Loché
    • Saint-Véran
    • Viré-Clessé

A Few Facts about Beaujolais

  • Technically part of the Rhône Department, but administratively under the aegis of Burgundy.
  • Bordered by Mâcon in the north and Lyon in the south.
  • Soils include granite and schist in the north, and broken yellow limestone known as Pierres Dorées (Golden Stones), clay and limestone in the south.
  • Boasts 10 Cru AOC’s:
    • Brouilly
    • Chénas
    • Chiroubles
    • Côte de Brouilly
    • Fleurie
    • Juliénas
    • Morgon
    • Moulin-à-Vent
    • Régnié
    • Saint-Amour
  • The birthplace of ‘Beaujolais Nouveau,’ a post-harvest release begun in 1970 and celebrated  the 3rd Thursday of November each year.
  • Gamay comprised most Beaujolais rouge, mostly produced by carbonic maceration.

Link here more about #Winophiles virtual Tour of Burgundy.

Link here for #Winophiles Travel Guide to Burgundy | Part I.

About the French #Winophiles:

The French  #Winophiles are a group of wine writers and bloggers that love French wine.

Each month we focus on an area or aspect of French wine. Topics include regions, routes, food, travel, history, profiles, tastings…we expand widely and seek to learn.

Here’s the French #Winophiles’ Tasty Tour Guide

for the virtual

Tour of Burgundy- Part 2 | Hashtag #Winophiles

 Saturday, June 17th, 2017 – 8 a PST | 10 a CST | 11 a EST:

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 Burgundy.”

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.”

Camilla Mann of Culinary Adventures with Cam tipples through “Touring Burgundy by Glass: It’s the End of the School Year and I Need a Drink!”

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.”

L.M. Archer of binnotes.com pours forth on “Burgundy’s Overlooked ‘Other’ White Wine.”

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

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | red Thread™.  All Rights Reserved.

Wine Writer Confidential | № 6

Dear Readers:

Welcome to my latest installment of Wine Writer Confidential, where I spill, thrill and chill you with all the news unfit to print about my world of wine writing.

It’s a busy time of the year, but here goes…a few updates for you:

#wineStudio | Arinzano | May 9th 

Ever wanted to run with the bulls in Pamplona? Well, here’s your chance to at least virtually taste the wines of that region!

Yes, it’s a new month, which means a new round of virtual tastings with #wineStudio, my fave virtual wine community of wine writers, industry professionals, and social media influencers.

This Tuesday you can follow us on Twitter at #wineStudio from 6-7 p PST as we kick off a taste through the wines of Arinzano from Navarra, Spain.

Not only does this winery boast the prestigious Vino de Pago designation, but it also hosts a robust enotourism program, including…wait for it… a very cool annual Running of the Bulls tour to nearby Pamplona. ¡Salud!

Want to learn more about Arinzano?

You can read my interview with Pago de Arinzano winemaker and CEO Manuel Arinzano here.

You can view my Hedonistic Tasting notes on Arinzano wines here.

#Winophiles |  A Tour Through Burgundy | Part 1: May 20th

I’m also hosting the Facebook Group The French Winophiles through a Tour of Burgundy this May and June.

For those of you unfamiliar with The French Winophiles, it’s a formatted program that occurs on the third Saturday of each month. Members include wine, food and travel writers and enthusiasts who share a link to their themed food and wine pairing post with the group prior to the scheduled date, then meet for a tweet-up on that date. This May 20th and June 17th the topic is Burgundy.

On Saturday, May 20th, we’ll crack out our tastevin for some food and wine pairing through Chablis and the Côte d’Or. You can join us from 8-9 am PST, (10 am CST) on Twitter at  #Winophiles.

On June 17th, Part 2 takes us on a tour of  food, wine and travel through the Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais, and Beaujolais.

Food, Wine and Travel writers & Bloggers: Care to join the Burgundy Tour? Feel free to leave a comment below or IM me @binnotes. Santé!

 More Wine Writer Confidential:

Wine Writer Confidential № 5

Wine Writer Confidential № 4

Wine Writer Confidential № 3

Wine Writer Confidential № 2

Wine Writer Confidential № 1

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | red Thread™. All Rights Reserved.

An Invitation to Tour Burgundy, Virtually! | 20 mai 2017

Take a Tour of Burgundy with the French Winophiles!

Join us for this month’s French Winophiles!

What: A Tour of Burgundy Part 1 | Chablis + Côte d’Or 

When: May 20, 2017 | 10 am CST


Map of Burgundy ©BIVB.

Burgundy Wine Region Quick Facts:

  • Stretches 140 miles from Chablis to the Mâconnais.
  • South 3.5 hours by car or 1.5 hrs. by train from Paris.
  • Enjoys a semi-continental climate.
  • Comprises 6% French wine production.
  • Produces 62% white wines,  28% red wines, and 10% sparkling (*BIVB – 2017.)
  • Contains 20% of all French Appellations (AOC’s):
    • 33 Grand Cru AOC’s
    • 635 Premier Cru AOC’s
    • 44 Village AOC’s
    • 23  AOC’s
  • Primary varietals:  Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
  • Subregions include:
    • Chablis/Grand Auxerrois/Châtillonnais
    • Côte d’Or (Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune)
    • Côte Chalonnaise
    • The Mâconnais
    • Beaujolais – Administratively only (Technically, Beaujolais belongs to the Rhône department.)

Burgundy: Some history….

  • Benedictine and Cistercian monks oversaw wine production in Burgundy from 909 AD until 1789, introducing stone walls, or clos, around vineyards, codifying named sites, or climats, and cultivating Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as the region’s primary varietals.
  • Prior to the Revolution, France’s royal Dukes of Burgundy ruled the region from 1363-1477, outlawing Gamay.
  • Burgundy established the first Hospices de Beaune wine auction at the Hôtel Dieu in 1851.

Chablis Quick Facts:

  • Chablis also includes the Grand Auxerrois and Châtillonnais sub-regions.
  • Chablis boasts distinctive chalky limestone clays composed of dead oyster fossils. The biomass originated in a tropical sea that once covered the region, long before glaciers formed, tectonic plates shifted and crusts uplifted.
  • Fun Fact: These dead baby oysters settled into layers, eventually morphing into clays with a chalky consistency. With each plate shift and uplift, the chalky sea bed layers dispersed, forming a ‘ring’ which today includes the cliffs of Dover, Chablis, Champagne’s Aube region, and the Upper Loire’s Sancerre region.
  • Chardonnay accounts for 100% of Chablis’ wine production, with the following exceptions:
    • The village of St. Bris may cultivate Sauvignon Blanc.
    • The village of Irancy may produce César-Pinot Noir blends.
    • The village of Vézelay may grow Melon de Bourgogne.
  • Chablis’ AOC Hierarchy includes:
    • Chablis Grand Cru
    • Chablis Premier Cru
    • Chablis
    • Petit Chablis
  • Chablis has (1) Grand Cru with (7) distinctive climats:
    • Blanchot
    • Bougros
    • Les Clos
    • Grenouilles
    • Preuses
    •  Valmur
    • Vaudésir

Côte d’Or Quick Facts:

  • Also know as “La Route des Grands Crus” the ‘golden slopes’ of the Côte d’Or encompass Burgundy’s celebrated Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune.
  • Côte de Nuits produces 89%  red wine, and contains 24 Grand Cru, all red but one (Musigny).
  • Côte de Beaune produces 57% red, 43% white wines, and includes 8 Grand Crus, all white but one (Corton).

If you are a wine writer or blogger, this is your invitation to join in! Posts on travel, food, wine and lifestyle in Burgundy are all welcome.

Contact me to tell me you’re in: Include blog url, Twitter handle, and any other social media details. If you know your blog post title, include that…but you can also send that a bit closer to the event. We’d just like to get a sense of who’s participating and give some shout-outs and links as we go. Contact me below.

Send your post title to me by Wednesday, May 17th to be included in the preview post. I will prepare a preview post shortly after getting the titles, linking to your blogs. Your title may or may not include “#Winophiles.”

Publish your post between 12:01 a.m-8:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday, May 20th. You can always schedule your post in advance if you will be tied up that morning.

Include links to the other #Winophiles participants in your post, and a description of what the event is about. I’ll provide the HTML code that you can easily put in your initial post — which will link to people’s general blog url.

Get social! After the posts go live, please visit your fellow bloggers posts’ to comment and share. We have a Facebook group (French Winophiles) for participating bloggers to connect and share, too. If you need an invitation please let me know.

NOTE: Sponsored posts are OK if clearly disclosed. Please be sure to disclose if your post is sponsored or if you are describing wine or other products for which you have received a free sample.

For an overview of the region: 

Link here to my article about Burgundy Wine Region in The Good Life France.

And don’t forget!

Join us for Burgundy | Part 2: June 17, 2017

Côte Chalonnaise + Mâconnais (+ Beaujolais)

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | red Thread™. All Rights Reserved.

Burgundy’s Unforgettable 2016 Vintage

Burgundy’s Unforgettable 2016 Vintage

Dear Friends:

As Burgundy prepares  for its annual post-harvest celebration Les Trois Glorieuses this weekend, I wanted to share with you this beautiful film about the 2016 vintage, produced by BIVB.

In it, Burgundy’s regional vignerons recount the unforgettable 2016 vintage, a vintage of devastating frost and hail damage, yet surprisingly yields, and promising wines of elegance and balance.

Please enjoy and feel free to share your thoughts below.


All images courtesy BIVB.

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.



Chardonnay Day | 2016

Chardonnay Day | 2016

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Happy Chardonnay Day!

Thought you might enjoy this view from the top of the Hill of Corton in the famed Côte d’Or, site of some of the world’s most exquisite Chardonnays. This little scenic spot helps me ‘reset’ when in Burgundy –  Center of the Universe.


Honored to be back in Seattle this Memorial Day Weekend to help judge the 14th Annual Rosé Revival at Ray’s Boathouse tonight, including some tasty Chardonnays, and more than a few international producers.

Join the fun…follow along on Instagram @binNotes.


Copyrighted binNotes |redThread™. All rights reserved.