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Aligoté: Burgundy's Unsung Hero Steps Out of the Shadows

CorkRules | Mar 04, 2024

For Chardonnay lovers seeking a refreshing, value-driven alternative, Aligoté, Burgundy's "other" white grape, beckons with its crisp acidity, subtle minerality, and undeniable charm. Often overshadowed by its more illustrious neighbor, Aligoté is finally gaining recognition for its unique qualities and exceptional quality-to-price ratio.

A Value Proposition: Compared to Chardonnay, Aligoté offers a compelling value proposition. The grape thrives in cooler climates, yielding wines known for their vibrant acidity and lighter body. This makes them perfect for enjoying young, without the need for extensive aging, which translates to lower production costs ultimately reflected in the price tag. Wine enthusiasts can experience the distinct terroir of Burgundy at a fraction of the price of a Premier Cru Chardonnay.

Critical Acclaim: The growing popularity of Aligoté is not going unnoticed by critics. Wine Enthusiast recently declared it "Burgundy's Rising White Star," highlighting its increasing quality and potential to rival Chardonnay. Renowned wine critic Burghound remarked on the "impressive depth and complexity" found in certain Aligoté expressions, showcasing the grape's ability to produce wines beyond their entry-level reputation.

Food Pairings: Aligoté's bright acidity and subtle minerality make it a versatile food pairing companion. It shines alongside lighter fare like fish dishes, shellfish, salads, and creamy cheeses. The wine's refreshing character cuts through richness, making it a perfect partner for creamy sauces and even lighter cuts of meat.

Domaine Stars: While Aligoté is often produced by various cooperatives, two stand-out producers are leading the charge in crafting exceptional single-vineyard expressions:

  • Dominique Lafon - $37.99: This renowned producer, known for their exquisite Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet wines, also crafts a stunning Aligoté with depth and complexity, showcasing the potential of the grape when treated with respect and meticulous attention to detail.
  • Domaine Sylvain Cathiard - $66.99: This family-owned estate in the village of Bouzeron, the only appellation dedicated solely to Aligoté, produces wines known for their purity, minerality, and aging potential. Their "Mâcon-Villages" Aligoté is a testament to the grape's ability to deliver exceptional quality and complexity.

Aligoté offers an exciting opportunity for wine enthusiasts to explore the hidden gem of Burgundy. Its affordability, refreshing style, and versatility make it a perfect addition to any wine lover's repertoire. So, next time you're looking for a delightful, value-driven white wine, consider giving Aligoté a try. You might just discover your new favorite Burgundy.


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