It’s a mild Autumnal October evening and I’m sitting on the sofa reading issue 12 of Noble Rot magazine while my cod fillets gently grill in the oven. The magazine this month is almost entirely devoted to the worship of everything Beaujolais and the Gamay grape.
But tonight I’m drinking something altogether different… a bottle of Francois Mikulski’s vieilles vignes Aligote 2014, the perfect match to my grilled fish. But like Cru Beaujolais, or even the humble Gamay grape, Aligote has wallowed in unloved obscurity for decades.
I remember only a few years ago, wine merchants would be forced to buy 120 or 240 bottles of Aligote, just to get their village and 1er Cru allocations from these well known growers. The clever merchants pumped the fresh, vibrant Aligote wine stocks out immediately, on low margin offers, so as not to be left sitting on unsaleable, ageing Aligote 12 months later when new stocks would yet again be thrust upon them.
Oh how times have changed. Most merchants now sell out En-primeur of their top domaine Aligote whites from growers including Lafarge, de Villane, Ente and Mikulski. Like the mood and demand for Beaujolais has exploded in the past couple of years, so too has the thirst for low alcohol, fresh, vibrant, domaine bottled, old vine Aligote whites.
Beaujolais, Bouzeron, and their representative grapes are back in fashion and back in demand in a big way, and thankfully for consumers, they are all still, for the time being, properly affordable. So I say… buy, buy, buy!!
Tasting Note: Beautiful nose of liquid minerals, lime zest, alka seltzer and briney sea breeze. Also hints of lemon butter and dried herbs. The palate is tantalisingly fresh, but also concentrated with green fruits, lime peel, wet chalk, crunchy green melon and tart green Granny Smith apples. Such balance and energy. Kind of like a white equivalent of Cru Beaujolais. Just a lovely 12 abv wine from this epic white vintage! (Wine Safari Score: 91/100 Greg Sherwood MW)