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Aligoté: Discover “the Other” White Burgundy Grape Variety

While it is the second most planted white grape in Burgundy, Aligoté certainly doesn’t enjoy the same level of fame it’s cousin Chardonnay does. This is why Aligoté is often referred to as the « other » white grape variety of Burgundy.

Crisp, zingy, delicate – let’s discover this grape variety together.

 

HOW TO PRONOUNCE?

Ah-lee- go- teh

 

WHERE DOES IT COMES FROM?

Just like Chardonnay, Aligoté originates from Burgundy, France.

This grape variety is now also found in Eastern Europe, and is also being trialled in Chile, the USA and Canada.

It is main variety in the Bourgogne Aligoté appellation (although up to 15% Chardonnay is allowed), however it is the only grape allowed in “Bouzeron Aligoté”.

In Burgundy, it is also very present in Crémant de Bourgogne, the region’s top sparkling wine appellation.

Often considered a lesser grape than Chardonnay, it is usually planted on the lower quality vineyards(top and bottom of the hills), keeping the best parcels for Chardonnay.

 

WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE?

Aligoté is tends to be more subtle than Chardonnay, displaying mostly floral aromas of acacia and white flowers but also fruit aromas of lemon and mineral notes of flint. With a bit of age, the wines develop nutty aromas as well as honey.

 

WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?

Aligoté wines were known for their high acidity and low sweetness, making them the aperitif wine by excellence in Burgundy or even mixed to Cassis Liqueur to make the traditional Kir.

However, more and more producers are starting to produce some very serious wines with a much bigger and richer body while keeping their superb freshness. With a bit of oak ageing the wines have a wonderful mouth feel.

 

WHAT FOOD WILL IT GO WELL WITH?

Unoaked Aligoté is a wonderful pairing to seafood; it’s freshness and subtlety being ideal with delicate dishes.

With a bit of oak, these wines are very interesting enjoyed alongside poultry, especially in creamy sauces.

Add a bit of ageing, and we can look at pairing with mushroom risotto or even some roast veal with cream.

They also make a great partner with goat’s cheese!

Cheese to pair with Wine

WHERE ARE THE BEST REGIONS FOR aligoté ?

The best region for Aligoté is of course Burgundy and the Bourgogne Aligoté appellation.

Bouzerion Aligoté is also an appellation producing some great winesy.

There are also some interesting Aligoté produced in Moldova and Romania.

While on American soil, it is found in the coolest areas such as Yakima Valley (Washington), or Santa Maria Valley (California), although this remains mostly experimental.

 

WHAT TASTES SIMILAR?

If you’ve already enjoyed Aligoté and you would like to try some similar styles of wines, I would firstly recommend Gruner Veltliner from Austria.

Also as a similar profile, I would recommend Riobolla Gialla which is a grape variety from the North of Italy. Like Aligoté it is medium bodied with a good zingy freshness and has a similar floral, fruity flinty nose.

 

BEST ALIGOTE WINES : 5 to try

I would probably recommand you to try the Aligoté developed by the nephew of Aubert de Villaine  – which is one of the most famous winemaker’s family of Burgundy :  Pierre de Benoist

I think the Bourgogne Aligoté from Boisot is a fantastic example.

Also a favourite is the Bourgogne Aligoté Les Moutots from Jean-Claude Boisset, a great wine from a great winemaker Gregory Patriat

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