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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

Aligoté: More(y) Please!

It's no secret, at this point, that Aligoté is responsible for some of the most exciting white wines in Burgundy. Chardonnay still hogs the spotlight, but more and more, we find that people are looking for Aligoté, and we even find that some of our favorites are now allocated. What?! Yes, that is the state of Burgundy. Allocated Aligoté. Not really surprising at all. Anyway, if you don't know Aligoté, check one out soon. It is the "other" white grape of Burgundy and compared to Chardonnay, it tends to make lighter wines.

Some Aligoté can be so green and tart as to be borderline undrinkable without the addition of crème de cassis (the classic Kir cocktail), but those attenuated wisps do not do justice to this distinguished grape. There are two reasons why Aligoté can be extraordinarily lean and tough. First, in this day and age it does not pay to have Aligoté in a well-situated sunny cru, as you will always be able to charge more for Chardonnay and Pinot. Planting a new Aligoté vineyard in a great site means taking a voluntary pay cut, and when you have a family relying on a profitable crop, that is just not an option. Second, most Aligoté vineyards are planted to the Aligoté Vert cultivar, which produces abundant quantities of bland grapes. The much more interesting Aligoté Doré cultivar can still be found, and these plantings are very often old vines; special vineyards indeed, the world is finally taking notice...

Today we offer two Aligoté from two branches of the Morey family, and we think you should try both. The Pierre Morey Aligoté is unfortunately far more limited (about a case in stock), and while the Marc Morey Aligoté is finite, we have more to offer.

Pierre Morey Bourgogne Aligoté 2019 - $24

Very pretty nose features orange and lemon, mango candy, daffodils, airy spice and petrichor, many subtle extra fruits like melon, strawberry, pineapple and crisp yellow apple. Lively and bright on the palate, but quite full and rich for Aligoté, silky and layered, cutting citrus as well as lovely pithy and mineral nuance keeps it very fresh. Finishes with beautiful citrus and tropical fruits, as well as grippy stony, pithy and herbal notes. Uncommonly long and complex for Aligoté, but I should stop qualifying this wine by naming the cultivar, it is just uncommonly good wine. Brilliant stuff, and surely worth following at least a decade.

Marc Morey Bourgogne Aligoté 2020 - $23

Ripe yellow apple and pear, a little fresh cream and citrus blossom, a touch of brown spice. Beautiful weight and texture, this has a great combo of silk and stones, and mild acid cut to keep it lively. Beautiful, nuanced finish features crunchy apple and citrus, delicate spice and chalky grip. Should be worth following a few years.

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