Burgundy is known for the two main grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but these are not the only ones! The third and fourth place go to Gamay noir a jus blanc and Aligoté. The latter has its own Appellation in Burgundy, the Bourgogne Aligoté AOC. The wines are light, acidic and are mainly used for mixing with Créme de Cassis to make there famous Kir. A special designated area for Aligoté is the Bouzeron AOC, a small area around the Village of Bouzeron in the Côte Chalonnaise. All the wines are 100% Aligoté but don’t have to mention the grape variety since the 1998 vintage.
The first names that piop up when researching Bouzeron are the famous co-owners of Domaine de Romanée-Conti, Aubert and Pamela de Villaine. Here they have their own vinery where they produce good wines for affordable prices, despite their name.
The 1998 vintage, the first for the Bouzeron AOC is seen as difficult for whites because the wines generally lacked acidity which is important for maturing. The Aligoté has more than enough of it, maybe this can even it out.
The 2002 vintage is said to be a good white wine year with enough acidity and concentration.
2004 sees higher yields with lower sugar content in the must and high acidity.
Just to see, how other producers of Aligoté might fare in a competitive tasting I included the 2002 Vieilles Vignes made by Château du Cary Potet, also from the Côte Chalonnaise region whom I first met at my first visit to the wine fair in Lille.
Let the Battle begin:
1998 Bouzeron, de Villaine:
Oxidative nose: Sherry, Soy sauce, mineral acidity with german Christstollen with raisins and marzipan on the finish.
Using the Eisch-Riesling glass the oxidative notes disappear revealing cilantro with roots and mandarine.
2002 Bouzeron, de Villaine:
Fresh from the fridge the wine shows light button mushrooms and honey. Reminds me of a young Chenin Blanc from the Loire. It is followed by chalk and cooked apples. Softer and with more weight than the 98, light peppery finish.
2002 Aligoté de Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes, Cary Potet:
Clotted milk with fresh grapes. Lighter than the Bouzeron. On the palate oxidative Soy sauce and Sherry, light raw apple and raisin.
2004 Bouzeron, de Villaine:
Light chalk and apple nose. On the palate light oxidative note. Sunflower oil, wholemeal bread and dried apple aftertaste. Softer than the 2002.
The 1998 Bouzeron unfortunately was a bit too old. I preferred the 2002 Bouzeron. In comparison, the Vieilles Vignes were less concentrated and more matured. 2004 was more simple, mirroring the simpler vintage. All in all I found the Aligoté difficult for laying down.