Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Aligote 2018
"Intense herby nose, with a touch of smoky reduction. Tight and intense and really lovely balance of rounded richness and fresh acidity. Smoky mineral on the finish." 16.5 points, Julia Harding, Jancisrobinson.com
Leroux has considerable pedigree with this variety as followers of Domaine Comte Armand will know. This year's wine is from two sources: 90- to 100-year-old, goblet-pruned Aligoté vines from La Fortune in Bouzeron (Côte Chalonnaise) and a parcel of 50-year-old Estate-grown fruit in Meursault's Les Belle Roses. Both vineyards are home to Aligoté Doré, the high-quality, low-yielding cultivar of this variety with skin that takes on an ochre hue when fully ripe. The 2018 was naturally fermented in tank and the aging was split between seasoned 12-hectolitre ovals and ten-year-old Burgundy barriques.
Bourgogne aligoté is a delicious white wine that is young, stylish and is a little different. It is pale gold in color and offers a well-balanced taste, and ranges from a fruity bouquet with notes of apple and lemon to a more floral palette. In the mouth, this vibrant wine tickles the taste buds.
Although Bourgogne aligoté is traditionally associated with drinking Kir, the local Bourgogne specialty of white wine mixed with crème de cassis blackcurrant liqueur, it has its own qualities and deserves to be enjoyed in its own right. It is a perfect match for grilled fish, and its liveliness and citrus notes stand up well to the saltiness of oysters and strong goat cheese.
Bourgogne aligoté is one of the rare wines that does not overpower salads, tabouleh or steamed vegetables. It is also a worthy companion to traditional local creations such as gougères pastries, snails with garlic butter and jambon persillé, a terrine of cold ham in parsley aspic.