There are three initials that send a shiver down all wine lovers – DRC -Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. These are the most expensive and most sought after wines on the planet. They produce single vineyard wines from the most famous vineyards in Burgundy and the world– Romanée-Conti, Richebourg, and La Tâche to name a few.
What is not so well known is that Albert De Villaine, the wine director and co owner of DRC, has slowly developed his own wine label since the 1970’s. When he inherited DRC in the 1970’s he did not want to live in the high profile areas of the famed Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, so they moved into a dilapidated estate in the lesser known village of Bouzeron, further south in the Côte Chalonnaise. Whilst his day to day focus was on the wines of DRC, he slowly built up a fantastic reputation for this village and the largely unknown and unloved white grape variety Aligoté. So why did De Villaine focus on Aligoté and not the more famous Chardonnay of the area. Who knows – maybe he did it just because he was there and so was the vineyard.
So what is Aligotéand Bouzeron. It is a white wine that is typically dry in style, very aromatic and light-bodied, with great acidity and a silky mouthfeel. Bouzeron is located only 5 klms from the prestigious Cote de Beaune slopes of Chassagne-Montrachet, sharing similar soils and climate but thankfully selling for a fraction of the price. Aligoté was at one time a work horse of the Burgundy area, but over the past 60 years, plantings have largely been replaced by the more fancied Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Bouzeron is like an isolated island in a sea of Chardonnay and Pinot.
I loved this wine when I tasted it, and then finished the bottle later that evening. It’s crisp and lean with a distinct floral note and a stony almost almond finish. It’s got a ton of finesse and understated elegance. Due to its great acidity, it is excellent as an apéritif, but would pair well with seafood or a plate of cheeses.