July 22, 2008

de Villaine Aligoté

Wine geeks already know, but I can't help repeating how good A. et P. de Villaine's Aligoté is. This white wine, from the town of Bouzeron in the Côte Chalonnaise just south of the Côte d'Or.

The common story is that aligoté is the underappreciated grape of Burgundy, acidic and neutral tasting, most commonly mixed with cassis to make kir. You either know all that or you can probably read more elsewhere.

The point is...this is simply delicious, inexpensive white Burgundy from a producer that even I underestimate. It's a cliché but it's true. Every time I have a wine from this de Villaine, I wonder why I don't drink more. (The truth is that I prize variety, but that's beside the point.)

After a couple years of bottle age, this wine is lightly golden in color with a waxy lemon and honey aroma, all surrounded by a difficult to describe mineral and floral quality that's simply entrancing. Star fruit? Star anise? Who knows, this is amazing. Actually, the more I think of it, the more it resembles a fine and mature Savennieres.

In the mouth, it's deliciously acidic with sweet lemon, mineral and round waxy flavors and a tangy, savory finish. How do they do this with the lowly aligoté? I imagine the producer is just that good, and that the grape isn't all that bad, provided you treat it with respect.

Precisely the point I wanted to make recently in this discussion about rosé. Perhaps the reason most rosé, or aligoté, isn't so inspiring is that producers have low expectations, when the reality is that, if we choose to get the best out of something, we truly can. This aligoté again denies the critics of this grape. Thanks for de Villaine for taking this stuff a bit seriously.


Brian said...

I like the Aligoe from De Moor, also...very good with food, and full of savory minerals.

Marshall Manning said...

Try the 2006 de Villaine, it's delicious!