2013 Paul Pernot Aligote – Bargain White Burgundy

Saturday, August 1, 2015 7:28 PM


When I first started here at TWH several years ago, I immediately learned I would be helping customerswhose wine knowledge and experience ranged from beginner to MW, or Master of Wine. If I didn’t already know a customer, a little conversation would give me a clue as to where they might be, but one never knows for sure. Though, as is policy for any retailer, all customers are treated with the utmost respect.

Earlier this week, two customers entered the shop. After greeting them, it seemed they wanted to browse on their own. I lifted my eyes from my flat screen from time to time to check on them, and all seemed fine. It’s a fact, smartphones are tools that all young people have, and one of these two gents was staring at his.  A short time later, he walked over to me and asked if we carried a particular wine that he recently enjoyed and showed me a picture from his phone. I was surprised (and impressed) that the bottle was a Bourgogne Aligoté made by one of Burgundy’s most famous red wine producers. He raved and raved about it. I said we don’t, and proceeded to look for a local merchant who might carry it, usingWineSearcher Pro. I found one, but it was pretty pricey. Which got me to thinking, if this producer thinks they cansell their Aligoté for $80 retail, we here at TWH aresitting on a bargain. A big bargain!


Considered Burgundy’s “other” white grape, Aligotéonce constituted nearly half of the white grapes planted in the region. I first heard of Aligoté my first month here, at a dinner with one of David’s tasting groups. A white Burgundy had been poured double-blind (single blind is when one knows what wines are being poured, but not which is which; double-blind leaves the taster with no clue at all), the tasters all explained their rationale in thought and then took a stab at guessing what it was. One notable Bay Area wine personality’s guess was an older Aligoté.This acted as the catalyst for some research I would be doing shortly thereafter. If a wine expert could confuse a Premier Cru white Burgundy with an Aligoté, I needed to know about Aligoté!

Wine research has two facets, reference material and liquid material. There’s enough written about Aligoté to give one a basic understanding of the grape and the wine it produces, but just like reading about how to swim, one must jump in! Luckily, we stock Aligoté from time to time, so it was time to jump. It smelled like Burgundy, it tasted like Burgundy, well what do you know, it WAS Burgundy. I found it to be less voluptuous as Chardonnay can be, with fresher acidity levels. I was told that there were austere versions of the wine which require a kiss of Crème de Cassis, creating the famous Kir. But fortunately, the Aligotés that we’ve importedover the years have been well balanced, fresh, and complex.
TWH regulars need no introduction to Paul Pernot,the man is a living legend in and around Puligny-Montrachet. He makes a Bourgogne Aligoté. Wait, he’s famous; how much is HIS Aligoté? $20 per bottle (with case discount)??? It’s summer, it’s warm; a cool, crisp Bourgogne Aligoté is perfect for this time of year. It’s time to jump in!
It’s been a really fun week here at TWH in Dogpatch, we’ve had some wonderful customer interactions! It’s always nice to hear a customer compliment our write-ups, and this week we receivedhigh praise from more than a handful of you! On another occasion, a neighbor was entertaining her sister who lives on the east coast, and after helping them with a bottle or two, after they left, but before they were in the car, the sister exclaimed, “they ARE pleasant!” He-he. Later that day, a regular, friendly customer who hadn’t visited us in a while told me that we were, hands down, his favorite local wine shop! He mentioned a competitor, and said that he had been there a couple of times, but couldn’t get the time of day while there. We had a fun conversation and afterwards, as I was helping put his wine in the car, he asked me what time it was. I told him around 5, but didn’t know exactly. He excitedly said,“See, I can get the time of day!” I looked puzzled. He repeated it gleefully. I still didn’t get it. Wake up, Pete.
All kidding aside, speaking for all of my colleagues, we are so grateful for counting all of you as customers and greatly appreciate your reading of our communications! Each and every interaction is precious to us, and we feel extremely lucky to be able to provide such service in this wonderful environment! To further comment on the aforementionedeast coast sister’s comment that we ARE pleasant; how can we NOT be? Try the 2013 Paul Pernot Aligoté, it’s delicious! – Peter Zavialoff

2011 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne Aligote

Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:23 AM

February 9. Believe it or not, today is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show! No, I didn’t see it. But as many of you all know, I have more than a keen interest in music, so I know stuff like that. In fact, it was 50 years ago Friday that they first landed in the USA. To commemorate the event, Chris, David, Tom, and I hit The Independent on Divisadero St. for the Lucius show. One of the best things about seeing a show at the Indy, is the fact that it is a half block from one of my favorite restaurants in the city.  Chris had other plans before the show, but David, Tom, a friend of mine, and myself saddled up to a four-top and enjoyed a great dinner. This friend of mine happens to be a regular TWH customer, so our dinner conversations were all about music and wine. We all ordered red wine-friendly dishes, so it was a no-brainer to follow David’s suggestion, and order a bottle of 2009 Château d’Or et de Gueules La Bolida. After all, it did make our Top Ten Wines of 2013 list!


As I mentioned, this buddy of mine regularly serves wine with dinner, and has given me “an open order” to purchase on his behalf, anything that I feel suits his palate and represents a great value. He gets at least a case of Les Cimels and Hors Saison each vintage for sure, but I’m always on the lookout for other stuff should it cross my path. Maybe it’s the season, or maybe it’s because I’m completely swamped here at the shop, but I overlooked one. Fortunately, it came up at the table at Nopa last night. Sure, we spoke of the La Bolida when it arrived at the table. We talked about Condrieu, Château Grillet, and Viognier in general. We talked about Burgundy. We talked about Bordeaux. At some point, the subject of Aligotécame up, and when it did, I froze, my eyes got really big, and I pointed at him. “Oh man, you’re going to love this wine,” I exclaimed. David backed me up with high praise for the wine, singling out grower Sylvain Langoureau for his prowess with this tricky, high acid grape variety.  Sometimes wines made from Burgundy’s other white grape can be super sleek and steely with searing acidity levels. Not Sylvain’s. Certainly not with his 2011, anyway.



Sylvain Langoureau owns some 8.5-9 hectares in and around St. Aubin in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune. His white wines in particular are fantastic … and they’re priced very fairly! Oh yeah, that’s how this wine came up, one of his Premier Cru St. Aubins is on the list at Nopa. That’s what set me off, my train of thought eventually got to my friend’s palate and this super deal on the 2011 Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne Aligoté. Of his 8.5-9 hectares, only about 10% are planted to Aligoté, but as Anya is quick to point out, there must be some intrinsic value in producing it. It has a tradition and a place at the table.One whiff of this wine, and my first instinct is, “Wow, this smells like fancy white Burgundy!” It’s got citrus, mineral, and spice. There is a little oak present, more on the aromas than the palate, so the barrel treatment is done with used barrels. On the palate, it is lean and lively, with wonderful complexity, freshness, and a snappy, crisp finish. Talk about having a place at the table! This is a fantastic food wine. It will triumph when paired with fried oysters, steamed mussels, halibut, and fatty fish. You can go the chicken route, such as Paillard, or for that matter, Wiener Schnitzel and Veal Milanese. A crab salad with avocado, celery root, and lime dressing would be perfect. Dang. Now I’m starving! All I’m saying is that if you like white Burgundy; if you like Aligoté; if you like lean, crisp, white wines; or if you like to be adventurous with your wine selections, I recommend you give the 2011 Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne Aligoté a try!


A great time had by all; we finished up our delicious Nopa dinners, stepped out onto Divisadero St., and strolled the half block to the Independent. We caught up with Chris, ran into a few more friends, the lights went down and Lucius worked their magic. In a word: fantastic! Speaking of fantastic, that crab, avocado, celery root salad with lime vinaigrette is on the menu at Picco. Maybe I’ll bring the rest of this sample bottle over there and chill after a week’s work! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions of comments about music, Aligoté, my impressions of the 2011 UGC Bordeaux tasting, or the most interesting English Football season in recent memory: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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September 2011 Dirty Dozen

Friday, September 2, 2011 9:11 PM

Heading out to San Francisco, for the Labor Day weekend show … whether or not you have your Hush Puppies on, you know it’s September and that means the kids are back in school, baseball season is entering its ‘pennant race’ phase, and in New Zealand, the Rugby World Cup is kicking off. No matter your distraction, the Dirty Dozen packs a wallop of value! 12 different wines packed into a box for $109? Just say yes.

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Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2009 Unico, Tierra de Castilla, Casa Gualda – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Unico, or unique if you will, is a great way to describe this blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Moscatel from España. The floral nature of the Moscatel is just the right counter to round out the richness of the Sauvignon Blanc and the result is magic. Think blossoms and herbs on the aromatics, and a bright crispness on the palate. Grill up some halibut for this.

2010 Rosé, Grange des Rouquette – $11.99, $9.59 reorder
It’s 100% Syrah Rosé from the south of France. Though deep pink in color, the palate offers a surprise; it is vibrant, crisp, and DRY. This is truly a Rosé that can pair with just about anything. If you miss the south of France, one taste of this will transport you there.

2009 Bourgogne Aligoté, Domaine Paul Pernot – $18.99, $15.19 reorder
Affectionately referred to as Burgundy’s “other” white grape, Aligoté may not have the notoriety of Burgundian Chardonnay but in the hands of the right vigneron (ahem, Paul Pernot!), it shines with bracing minerality and dazzling citrus and green apple flavors. Try alongside poached white fish or semi-soft cheeses.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, MSH – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
MSH Cellars is one of those hidden treasures of Napa that make us wine geeks all giddy. This wine isn’t resting on its Napa laurels, though … It brings the goods too, smooth and creamy through the mid-palate with a bright, citrus finish. Pair this Yountville Sauvignon Blanc with a sunny afternoon and a drumstick.

2009 Marsanne/Viognier, Vignobles Boudinaud – $11.99, $9.59 reorder
Thierry and Véronique Boudinaud have been turning our heads lately with a wealth of high-class wines at very fair prices. This blend has all the makings of a fancy-pants white Rhône without the pretense. Crisp minerality, round Asian pear flavors, perfectly balanced acidity, and a long, dry floral finish make this tough to beat. Friday fish fry is a callin’…

2008 Pinot Gris ‘Im Berg’, Domaine Ehrhart – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Longtime TWH friends, Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart continue to churn out great juice for a great price! They farm organically (2nd generation to do so), and the results are spot on. 2008 was a great vintage in Alsace, and this single-vineyard Pinot Gris has an abundance of complexity. Amazingly versatile, you can pop one with your fish tacos.

2007 Monastrell ‘Hécula’, Bodegas Castaño – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
This is a steal! Seriously, we know you all shop at TWH because we find great value wines at all price points, but this one is not to be believed. We’re not alone in our praise, Steven Tanzer tasted it and said, “This could be a Bandol”. That’s saying a lot. Think deep, rich purple fruit with hints of smoky meat and earth. Pop it with a pork roast.

2009 Baron des Chartrons, Bordeaux – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Here’s yet another sneak-peak into the hugely successful 2009 vintage in Bordeaux. This blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon is true to its vintage, showing rich, expressive fruit, great weight and dazzling structure. Goes to show that you don’t need to plop down multiple Benjamins to get a great taste of Bordeaux. A nice T-Bone works here.

2009 Rouge de la Domaine de la Petite Cassagne – $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Superstar winemaker Diane Puymorin has won our hearts yet again with her Rhône-style blend which includes some old-vine Carignane. Keep in mind that this is very young wine, so decanting is highly recommended. Got cassoulet?

2009 Plavac, Dingac – $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
New for us this month is a red wine from Croatia! Plavac Mali is one of several indigenous grape varieties, combining the spicy red berries of a Zin with the body of a Beaujolais. It’s fantastically uncomplicated. Enjoy with your cheeseburger.

2009 Morgon Côte du Py, Domaine Pierre Savoye – $18.99, $15.19 reorder
Speaking of Beaujolais, have you heard about the 2009 vintage? Coupled with the fact that this is CRU BEAUJOLAIS, this has to be the trump card of this month’s DD. Highly complex, the aromas are of forest floor, bright red berry fruit, and earthy minerals. Its palate is light and fresh with very fine tannins. A bowl of olives and a baguette will work.

2010 Côtes de Ventoux ‘Fayard’, Domaine Fondrèche – $16.99, $13.59 reorder
Wünderkind Sébastien Vincenti continues to dazzle us with his Ventoux blends. Sébastien honed his skills under the tutelage of legendary Rhône master André Brunel, and his amazing string of vintage successes is astounding. The Fayard is a blend of Grenache and Syrah (with a little Mourvèdre and Carignane), and it shows rich, ripe fruit, herbs and earth.

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2009 Paul Pernot Aligote

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:05 PM


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

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