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Domaine Faiveley Bourgogne Aligote 2015
"Faiveley’s wines are... supremely clean and elegant: definitive examples of Pinot Noir... above all they have richness and breed, the thumbprint of a master winemaker."
-Clive Coates M.W.
Côte d’Or, A Celebration of the Great Wines of Burgundy
A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide, Burgundy is a perennial favorite of many wine lovers. After centuries of winemaking, the Burgundians have determined precisely which grape clone grows best on which plot of land. While the concept of ‘terroir’ reigns supreme here—soil type, elevation and angle of each slope—this is a region firmly rooted in tradition. Because of the Napoleonic Code requiring equal distribution of property and land among all heirs, vineyard ownership in Burgundy is extremely fragmented, with some growers responsible for just one or two rows of vines. This system has led to the predominance of the "negociant"—a merchant who purchases fruit from many different growers to vinify and bottle together.
Burgundy’s cool, marginal climate and Jurassic limestone soils are perfect for the production of elegant, savory, and mineral-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with plenty of acidity. Vintage variation is of particular importance here, as weather conditions can be variable and unpredictable. In some years spring frost and hail must be overcome.
The Côte d’Or, a long and narrow escarpment, forms the heart of the region, split into the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. The former is home to many of the world’s finest Pinot Noir wines, while Chardonnay plays a much more prominent role in the latter, though outstanding red, white, and rosé are all produced throughout. Other key appellations include the Côte Chalonnaise, home to great value Pinot Noir and sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne. The Mâconnais produces soft and round, value-driven Chardonnay while Chablis, the northernmost region of Burgundy, is a paradise for any lover of bright, acid-driven and often age-worthy versions of the grape.
Perfect ripeness balanced with a characteristic acidity make Aligoté a unique white grape in Burgundy. But since Chardonnay reigns supreme across the appellation, Aligoté almost always ends up unfairly lost in its shadow—though not always! In Côte Chalonnaise, in a quaint village named Bouzeron, just south of the Côte de Beaune, Aligoté has its very own appellation where yields are limited in order to enhance the grape’s flavors and aromas. Some of the world’s very best come from there. And curiously, the famous producer, Domaine Ponsot, bottles a 100% Aligoté from its Premier Cru in Morey-Ste-Denis, Les Monts Luisants, made from Aligoté vines planted in 1911. Vignerons in the New World experiment with the grape but it is really most popular outside of Burgundy in the Eastern European countries of Romania, Burlgaria, Ukraine, and Moldova. What makes Aligoté unique is its intense citrus fruit flavors balanced by a floral character of honeysuckle blossom and a supple texture.