Domain Ballot-Millot & Fils Borgogne Aligoté 2009

7 May

Aligoté, this white burgundy from Meursault that ISN’T chardonnay, is one of my secret wines. I haven’t written about it here before, perhaps on purpose, until now.  The wines from this estate have always been delicious, enticing, and classic; yet with obvious attention to detail from the winemakers, they have improved with slow, steady determination while the prices remain under $20. From my favorite midtown wine Manhattan store, this bottle is a mere $15.95 and I have been steadily ordering several bottles every spring and summer in my mixed cases for my own enjoyment. (I referred to it illicitly in my post, Seeking the Right White Wine.)

Why do I enjoy this Aligoté so? Let me describe it to you: Crisp, clean notes of fresh apple, pear and lemon, followed by delicious acidity.  Hold the wine in your mouth and feel it expand with depth and complexity, the body is fuller than you expect and the minerality is dense with flint & clay, followed by a note of young oak with a mildly nutty flavor on the finish.

Ladies and gentlemen, This is the ‘cheaper’ wine made in the poorer soils in Meursault because the varietal is resistant to cold weather. This delicious, well-made, complex bottle sells for under $16 and is every bit as worthy of Burgundy as the wines that $40, $80, $150. It won’t taste like a $150 bottle of Premiere or Grand Cru Meursault from the Chardonnay grape, (because it isn’t one)  but it most certainly tastes like the terroir, the Aligoté grape, a gentle oak influence, and like it was picked by the same wizened hands that pruned the most expensive grapes all season long…because it was. And this is one you can actually afford to buy by the case once you’ve been wowed by its charm!

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This is the affordable Burgundy I pass over the fence to my neighbor who rarely enjoys a glass of wine. “You know I love white burgundy. It’s my one wine weakness. They send me over the top, but the good ones are just so gosh-darned expensive and hard to come by!” says Gary, the laughing, lovable genius who lives next door with his brilliant wife and their two teenagers that we’ve known for what must be 15 years.

Yes, Gary, and no. They can be hard to find and pricy, but if you look in the right places, you’ll find something that is just as deliciously complex and amazing as that $150 Meursault for a fraction of the price. In this case, Aligoté. For you, for your neighbor, for your wallet, for your palate. Trust me.

à votre santé!

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