On a cloudy day in the middle January of 2015, we visited Domaine A. et P. de Villaine.
The domaine is located in the small village Bouzeron. It was created by Mr. de Villaine, the co-director of the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Aligoté doré (different from the normal Aligoté) is the special grape from Bouzeron. Domaine de Villaine is well-known for producing high quality wine with this grape variety. The wine maker told us their domaine have been recognized as the best domaine in Cote Chalonnaise for ten years.
Now the domaine owns 23 hectare vineyard, in which 10 hectare is to produce Bouzeron Aligote. Most vineyards are located on the nice slopes around Bouzeron. Due to the different soils on the slopes, Aligote is normally planted on the top of the slopes, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are planted on the middle of the slopes. Rully 1er Cru Gresigny is an old vineyard that bought by the domaine in the recent years, and 2012 is the first vintage. Now 5 white and 4 red wine is produced each year. Except what have been listed on their site, about 1000-2000 bottles Santenay red is also produced each year.
We tasted 3 whites and 1 red at the domaine.
1st white: Bouzeron 2013: this year the yield is very low, about 28 hectoliter/hectare, almost the half of the normal year. The average age for the vines are 65 years old (20-100+ years old). The wine is very nicely made, much more complex and creaminess than the normal Aligoté, less citrus characteristics but still very aromatic. The French word “Gras” means “fat” in English can best describe the specialty of this wine.
2nd white: Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise “Les Clous Aime” 2013: this wine is produced since 2011, high acidity with some aromas of ripen stone fruits and citrus, fine and mellow.
3rd white: Rully “Les St-Jacques” 2013: this wine has some peachy aromas as well as some floral characteristics. The aroma is very differently styled with the first 2 wines. Middle plus body, also fine and mellow.
One red: Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise “La Dignoine” 2013: Very nice ruby color instead of dark red. Comparing to other wine from the same appellation, this wine is very fine and elegant. The nice cherry aromas, smooth tannin and the fine structure make you think it is from Cote de nuits. However, this nice red wine is produced on the slope in Bouzeron.
Question to the wine maker: Can Aligoté age? What is the taste of old Aligoté?
The wine maker told us he had a bottle of unfiltered 2007 Aligoté few days ago, it was very nice. For him, when Aligoté wines aged, it is like the taste of old Riesling, the aromatic features from the grape will be replaced by the mineral and creamy characteristics.