The extremely flash end of the basement

What Bourgogne Aligote costs fifty notes a bottle? Half a ton for Aligote! That stuff is at the bottom of Burgundy’s white wine heap and usually deservedly sells for a fraction of the cost of this Domaine D’Auvenay bottle. D’Auvenay is not even generally on sale, the basement-level appellation is only sold to special friend private customers. With only 1,500-odd bottles made a year it is pretty rare for a humble appellation I only rarely give a fraction of a tinker’s cuss about. This bottle was a gift from a lovely friend and is the latest vintage – which is to say 2007. 2007? Aligote is normally drank within months of bottling. This is one pricy, weirdy, wacked-out wine.

I probably should add that, as Jacques Seysses (who I worship as a living god) has had words about Mdm. Lalou Bize-Leroy, words I’d best not even hint at, I view her wines with a little suspicion. They are all hellishly, hellishly expensive and when I’ve had some I’ve wondered about their guiding aesthetic ideal. Some D’Auvenay wines I’ve loved, it’s true, but I’ve had very few and it’s difficult to shake off prejudices about ageing egomaniac women. So what’s a fifty sheet Aligote like?

Bourgogne Aligote ‘Sous Chatelet’ 2007, Domaine D’Auvenay

Bourgogne Aligote ‘Sous Chatelet’ 2007, Domaine D’Auvenay

It’s pretty bloody oaky, that’s for sure! My visiting mother suggests it has a hint of piss to the nose but I think she is being uncharitable in her lack of tasting experience and what she thinks is micturition is merely the incredible amount of oak. I think a bit of air would help. Help it does and the oak mellows leaving a nose which smells quite a lot like reasonable white Burgundy of the Chardonnay flavour. Reasonable white Burgundy; there’s some minerality, some fruit, it’s quite fresh, has hints of complexity, but it’s not going to set the world on fire. Perhaps it might if you consider this is made from a noisome grape variety, but certainly not if you just handed over the fifty quid and were presented with merely reasonable white Burgundy. The palate is similarly acceptable. The oak shows quite a lot, there’s a bit of weight and some creamy stoniness. It doesn’t quite have the structure and depth to live up to the stunning number of oak planks its been bashed about with, but it’s not an unreasonable wine. It has certainly grown in personality as its been opened, and I’m very grateful to Per for allowing me to try this hen’s teeth wine. But a fifty quid for an overachieving Aligote that’s still merely reasonable Burgundy? I don’t think I’m the target market and I don’t feel the need to be.

Oh yes, as well as many thanks to Per for giving us the chance to try this wine we also toasted Sam, generous donor to the Constant Inebriation Fund. These donations fine people make help more than I think they realise. Cheers Sam! Happy Christmas to you and all Elitistreview readers!

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