Naudin Ferrand Aligote 2018

In the past, aligoté was planted at the top of Chambertin! Musigny blanc was half aligoté! It was half of Corton! After phylloxera, most replanted with easier-to-grow chardonnay and put aligoté on the other side of the road where no one ever planted anything but carrots and potatoes. This was the sad story of ruined aligoté. LAURENT PONSOT

All in all, Claire Naudin makes some really beautiful Burgundies – in an area rarely talked about, if even known at all, by wine lovers: les Hautes-Côtes. PASCALINE LEPELTIER, MS

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White Burgundy’s underdog charmer aligoté has been basking in the sunlight of late. Its intrinsic line of sprightly acid tamed by a recent run of riper vintages. But choose wisely. While most are planted on lesser sites, leading to shrill and skeletal whites, this stunning example from Naudin-Ferrand shines.

Historically it was viewed as difficult, though not inferior, to its easier going sister chardonnay (the two share parents). After phylloxera struck in the late 19th Century, most vineyards were replanted to the more dependable chardonnay. Many of the great Burgundian estates still champion Aligoté – D’Auvenay, Roulot, Ramonet, Lafarge, Ponsot and d’Angerville to name a few. Among such hallowed company, wine writer Alice Feiring lists Naudin-Ferrand in her favourite Aligoté line-up.

Aligoté is a living connection bridging Burgundy’s past and present, with Jean-Marc Roulot’s cherished vines planted by his grandfather. The best are fleshy with a kinetic kick, lively manner and chalky finish. An incredible conduit of soil, site and surrounds – it’s everything we love about Burgundy.

Whilst it can age, this wine is all about immediate enjoyment. Winemaker Claire Naudin took over her families estate, Naudin-Ferrand in 1994. Along the way, she married fellow winemaker Jean-Yves Bizot (from Domaine Bizot) while also setting up her own label.  Her conversion of grape growing to organic practices is living legacy.  She’s a strong adovate of sustainable and sensible winemaking. The fruit purity and intensity of this wine is astonishing.

From two sunny spots near the hill of Corton, on some of the best Burgundian slopes with poor soils.  In the richer 2018 vintage, this wine shimmies in the sunshine. Winemaking is kept to a minimum, relying on the intensity of old vine fruit (the youngest are 45 years), low yields and light lees work.  As Claire remarks ‘the more you do to aligoté, the more you hurt it.’ Organic cultivation brings flavour and terroir to the fore. There’s an expanse to the wine which is enlivened by a thread of electric acidity that projects the wine, signing off with a chalky finish. You can picture the famous Burgundian limestone soils with each sip.

This is a perfect picnic wine. It pairs well with great conversation, balmy night, friends a baguette and some cheese. It also matches beautifully with seafood. This is a wine for lovers of subtlety, nuance and purity, it transports you to the slopes of Burgundy while connecting you to the past.