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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 this point. 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, 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 rely on a profitable crop to make a living, 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. Pierre Morey is a superstar Domaine in Burgundy, and every bottle of their white wines, from Aligoté to Batard-Montrachet, is allocated. Marc Morey seems to still fly under the radar, but their reputation is stellar nonetheless, and even their Aligoté is worth the attention of connoisseurs.

Pierre Morey Bourgogne Aligoté 2020 - $27

Richly aromatic, as Aligoté goes, hints of yeast and nuts add a subtle savory quality to an otherwise gloriously fruity nose; notes of sweet lemon, apple, pear... On the palate it is medium-bodied, tense and fresh, with a complex texture, a nice interplay of silkiness and chalkiness. Long and engaging finish, with many fruit and mineral tones lingering. This is quite serious, and will be worth following at least 5 years, if not 10+.

Marc Morey Bourgogne Aligoté 2020 - $23

Ripe yellow apple and Anjou 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. The beautiful, nuanced finish features crunchy apple and citrus, delicate spice and chalky grip. It should be worth following a few years.

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