Phased out in favour of the more fashionable and profitable Chardonnay grape Aligote, nevertheless, has plenty to offer the modern wine lover.
Caroline Chenu checking Aligote ferments
Bourgogne Aligoté is a regional Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) for white wines produced in Burgundy from the Aligoté variety of grape, which dates from 1937. While the primary grape is Aligoté, AOC regulations allow up to 15% Chardonnay to be blended into these wines. The wines tend to be light and acidic in style, and are usually unoaked, in contrast to many of Burgundy's more common and more noted Chardonnay-based white wines.
Aligoté grapes have played a prominent role in white Burgundy production since the 1600s, but are now being phased out in favour of the more popular and profitable Chardonnay grape: in 2007 only 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) of Aligoté were grown compared to the 12,800 hectares (32,000 acres) of Chardonnay.
Bourgogne Aligoté is usually regarded as a somewhat more acidic wine, best enjoyed in its youth due to its lighter nature. It is also a primary component in the production of the popular French cocktail kir, by combining the Aligoté wine with the blackcurrant liqueur crème de cassis.
Aligoté has one appellation exclusive to its grape: Bouzeron, in the Côte Chalonnaise region of Burgundy, where 53 hectares are dedicated to this unique Aligoté based wine.