Aligoté was known for many years as the ugly duckling of Burgundy. In the shadow of the famous grape Chardonnay people used Aligoté to make kir. For those who don’t know the drink; a kir is a dry white wine with a dash of crème de cassis. For a kir royal you replace white wine with Champagne. Read here about a delicious and affordable Champagne.
The grape is a crossing between Pinot noir and Gouais blanc from 1780. The grape thrives very well on more fertile clay soils (Chardonnay hates these) and has higher yields than Chardonnay.
The AOC Bourgogne Aligoté was created especially for the Aligoté in 1937 and its image has been improving ever since. In 1998, the AOC Bouzeron was added, which prescribes 100% Aligoté.
Aligoté has considerable acidity and is often made in a fresh style. Maturation in oak barrels is common, mostly used barrels, new oak is seldom seen.
I am a big fan of the Aligoté from Boyer-Martenot. Made by young winemaker Vincent Boyer. The vineyards are located just outside Meursault on the more fertile soils that do the Chardonnay grape no good.
The grapes are picked by hand and after fermentation the wine ripens one year in used wooden barrels (the barrels are between 4 and 7 years old). After that the wine continues to ripen in concrete (egg-shaped) for another year.
The result is a beautiful wine with notes of wild flowers, lemon and green apple. In the mouth juicy apricot, pear and citrus. Lots of depth and flavor and easy to combine with light appetizers.