The Age of Bourgogne Aligote: Part 6 – Domaine Jean-Marc Millot Amphora Aligote 2020…

Jean-Marc Millot based in Nuits-Saint-Georges has been making elegant, understated, classical red Burgundy wines for over two decades and has more recently started to take on a new globally collectable cult wine status. In the last couple of years, Jean-Marc has also taken a step back towards retirement after being joined by his daughter Alix Millot as the family winemaking baton is slowly passed on to the next generation.

I first came across Jean-Marc’s Aligote in 2018 when he sent us a few samples of his 2017 vintage Aligote mixed in alongside his 2016 red En-primeur samples. With the 2020 En-primeur campaign well underway, I took the opportunity to retaste their latest Aligote release as the 2020 vintage is already in bottle and on the retail shelves, making this tiny production wine definitely something that gets the Burg geeks very excited. In 2020, a highly rated quality white wine vintage, the domaine has realised new heights of quality and intensity.

Domaine Jean-Marc Millot Amphora Aligote ‘Les Deux Terres’ 2020, Bourgogne Aligote, 12% Abv.

Tasted from a Zalto Universal glass, this delicious young Aligote is ripe and expressive with intense aromatics of cantaloupe melon, green pear, dried herbs and honey on white toast over an intense wet limestone minerality. The palate is every bit as expressive as the nose with a lovely mouth-filling sweet – sour yellow citrus fruit depth embellished with a pithy tangerine peel complexity. The texture is so balanced and harmonious, tangy and fresh, one sip inviting yet another. This has the glycerol mouthfeel of a serious white Burgundy with the alternative, exotic flavours of Aligote. This superb wine exemplifies the upward quality spiral of Aligote and further justifies its growing cult following around the world. Drink now to 2025+.

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

The Age of Bourgogne Aligote: Part 4 – Burgundies Most Revered Wineries Championing Aligote – Tasting Domaine Coche-Dury Bourgogne Aligote 2011…

Working a 9.43 hectare estate, Jean-François Coche took over his father Georges’ Domaine in 1973 to continue the production of some of the most profound and individual whites and reds in the whole of Burgundy. Officially retiring in 2010, he still makes his presence felt alongside his son Raphaël and wife Charline who have taken over winemaking duties.

The Domaine shows meticulous attention to detail with every stage of picking and winemaking, often resulting in very low yields that produce wines with incredible intensity, precision, and individual character. If Domaine de la Romanee-Conti produces the most sought after reds in Burgundy, Domaine Coche-Dury undoubtedly produces the region’s most sought after whites.

The white Chardonnay vineyards cultivated by the estate include 0.34 hectares of Grand Cru Vineyard Corton-Charlemagne which was acquired in 1986 and three holdings of Premier Cru vineyards in Meursault with 0.20 hectares in Perriéres, 0.07 hectares in Caillerets and 0.08 hectares in Genevriéres. Village classified vineyard holdings consist of 0.05 hectares of Chevalières and 0.29 hectares of Rougeots, both in Meursault, plus 0.20 hectares of the Puligny-Montrachet based Les Enseignières vineyard acquired in 1985.

But perhaps few grapes have been as scorned in Burgundy in the last 25 years as Aligoté, often being described as thin, acidic and insipid, capable of nothing better than serving as the historical base for a kir, in which white wine is flavoured with creme de cassis. But many of Burgundy’s most revered names, including cherished estates like Coche-Dury, Leroy, Roulot and Ramonet, Lafarge and d’Angerville, de Villaine, Ligier-Belair and Ponsot, persist in growing Aligoté.

Why? Because, when the grapes are farmed conscientiously with intent and the wines are made with precision and attention to detail, they can be deliciously distinctive, full of the energy, salinity and minerality that are the hallmarks of Aligoté.

Domaine Coche-Dury believes strongly that the white wines of Burgundy should have core nerve, and theirs are never amongst the ripest or highest in alcohol. It is their vibrant acidity, often hidden in their opulence that helps them to age so successfully and predictably and that includes their Aligoté.

Domaine Coche-Dury Bourgogne Aligoté 2011, Burgundy, France

Another beautifully expressive white from Domaine Coche-Dury. Made from Aligoté vines located behind the family home, it has a wonderfully fragrant nose of spiced crunchy green pears, white blossoms, buttered pastries and lime pastille sweets. There are some hallmark Coche-Dury struck match reductive notes but they are certainly finely integrated and secondary to the wine’s citrus fruits, green apple and liquid mineral intensity. The palate feels round and opulently textured in the mouth with a fine lemon / lime cordial acid line cutting cleanly through the lovely lemon curd and salty apple purée concentration. Superb depth, intensity and Aligoté varietal personality. I struggle to think of a better example of this variety. Drink now or cellar for another 3 to 5+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)