Aligoté –Burgundy’s secret
Lying in the shadow of Chardonnay few people know of Burgundy’s second white grape called Aligoté. A grape with good potential but often is relegated to the lesser areas, here where producing premium wine can be difficult. However, Aligoté is planted in many other countries, particularly in eastern Europe.
This is a variety that requires a careful hand in order to produce an enjoyable wine. The best whites have flavours of lemon, green apple and pear. Occasionally, good examples can show some white blossom. When the acidity is controlled it can be refreshing and crisp. However, this is the feature that is often out of balance, feeling too sharp without good flavour intensity and body to balance the acidity. This out of balance acidity is often a present when yields are too high.
The majority of wines produced from Aligoté see no form of oak or maturation as they are produced and are best to be enjoyed whilst young, crisp and fresh.
Burgundy is the main region for this somewhat forgotten variety. It falls far behind the more famous and prized Chardonnay but is still the second most planted white grape variety of the region. It is almost always planted in the lower, lesser areas of the vineyard as Chardonnay receives a lot more attention and therefore money. That being said, the grape's reputation is growing and some producers are endeavouring to show how great this grape can be.
Extremely small plantings of Aligoté are found in the North of Bulgaria. However, a related white grape variety called Dimyat is much more commonly seen. It has similar features and flavour profile to Aligoté often with some floral notes.
In terms of acreage, it is important in Romania producing both low and high-quality wines.
The majority of wine production in Moldova is white wine and Aligoté makes up a small proportion of this. It is found as a single variety and also is blended with other international varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc.
Planted in many regions of Ukraine, particularly in the South. Aligoté is an important grape variety in terms of yield. The focus is on young, easy drinking white wines and the grape is often not blended.
Aligoté here is used for both still and sparkling wine production. For sparkling wine production, it is typically blended with other native Georgian grape varieties.
A small and relatively insignificant grape in terms of production but some premium producers have small outcrops of land planted with Aligoté.