After nearly 35 years in the wine business, we at TWH have seen and heard it all when it comes to the idiosyncrasies of our customers’ palates. Furthermore, while we love the fact that no two palates are exactly alike, an immediate dismissal of an entire category of wine is somewhat of a conundrum to us wine geeks and is likely to elicit a response such as “Really? Well that’s probably because you’ve never had a good one!” (Although, depending on how furrowed said customer’s brow is, we may only say it in our heads). One such category that is nothing if not underappreciated, is the Aligote grape. Though it was once 40-50% of all Burgundy plantings, including 1er and Grand Cru plots, it took a backseat to its big sister Chardonnay around mid-twentieth century and has since been better known for its role in producing Cremant de Bourgogne and its part in a Kir.
So, why the fuss over Aligote, you may wonder? To put it bluntly, we’re excited (Correction: make that very excited) to be carrying the2009 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Aligote. Not only is Monsieur Pernot one of the most highly respected winemakers in the Cote de Beaune, he is also one of those rare breed of winemakers nowadays that no matter how many acres and accolades he collects, is a farmer at heart. That is why nobody is better equipped to work with the early-ripening, cold-loving Aligote grape than he. Additionally, 2009 was a warmer year in Bourgogne, which helped balance the inherently high-acid grape, producing a white wine that is both vibrant and mineral-driven, yet also expresses a generous amount of ripe apple and citrus fruit as well. What’s even more mind-boggling is that this is the first time Pernot has ever produced Aligote. As far as inaugural releases go, a white Burgundy under $20 that drinks like a top Macon or Vire-Clesse from one of the most esteemed producers on the planet, is dang near unheard of. So while we appreciate all palate quirks and staunch opinions (case in point, Pete still refuses to believe wine and chocolate go together), this is one of those rare gems that supercede all previous notions and stereotypes. If you really want to see what we’re talking about, pair it with steamed mussels in a white wine butter sauce … then prepare to swoon and picture us saying “we told you so!” – Emily Crichton