Aligoté, infamously, is Burgundy's Other White Grape. The one that is not Chardonnay!
Chardonnay is known for its unique signature fruit…
Aligoté is the straw-colored, tart, racy and softly scented "other" white wine of Burgundy, playing a subordinate role to Chardonnay. It can be very no frills and tasty.
Therefore, while Chardonnay may be the most famous white varietal in Burgundy, Aligoté recorded in Burgundy in the 1700s was once very widely planted, but almost died out in the early 20th century after the 19th century phylloxera epidemic wiped out most of the vineyards.
But let me tell you…It is undergoing a renaissance in the 21st century. That’s why I am writing about it. You are seeing more and more of it and it really does give you a no nonsense white to enjoy.
So, Aligoté is thought to be the oldest Burgundian grape variety. In the Middle Ages it was probably drunk with harigot, a mutton and bean stew and/or simple poultry stew. Aligoté can be vinified as a standalone or blended with Chardonnay. It can also bear the Bourgogne Aligoté AOC; which gives it a well-known notice.
Years ago, Aligoté got this trendy reputation around Europe. Aligoté is often paired with blackcurrant liqueur, which it makes a drink called Kir. It was named after Canon Kir, who was deputy mayor of Dijon, France. He made this aperitif very fashionable after the Second World War. Order it sometime at a nice restaurant and see what happens!
Anyways, it is known that high-quality examples of Aligoté can be found in the village of Bouzeron and many major players in Burgundy France bottle their own version of it.
So keep an eye out for it and give it a try. It’s very pleasing, sometimes neutral and crisp.
Aligoté on its own can be a fine contrast to foods that are rich, salty, oily, or fatty. Aligote pairs well with Light Fish, Shrimp, French cuisine, Foods cooked via Poach/Steam. It suits to be served with cold dishes.
I like it with Fried chicken myself or a cold antipasto...Cold sandwiches.
Other Dishes to serve with Aligoté: Pate of Foie Gras, Duck Confit, Feta stuffed Bell Pepper
Enjoy! Ask for it at your local wine place.